DEBIT FOR DUMMIES
One day, however I was forced to use the cursed thing. Kristjana sprained her foot and needed an ace bandage. She couldn’t walk into the store and since I had no money on me, she insisted I use her debit card.
“Kristjana I have never used a debit card.”
“Mom, you use a credit card, it’s the same thing. You swipe it and use my pin number. Even you can do this.”
“Uragamagagagrrr.” I cursed her and grumbled all the way into the store. It didn’t matter how simple the task, when it came to me versus machines, machines always made a fool out of me.
The bandage rang up to a whopping $6.87, $7.28 with tax—amazing that a large segment of society used a card for such a simple expenditure. What if they had a flat tire or needed a tow or were at the beach and the ice cream truck came by and they were attacked by an ice cream craving?
I swiped the card and punched in her password. That was easy. Suddenly a screen jumped out at me. How much money did I want back, $20, $40, $50 or $100?
Sirens stared screaming in my brain and my internal voices scrambled to make a decision. “Kristjana doesn’t like to carry cash. Why do I have to get cash back? What if this made her overdrawn? She never told me this would happen.”
The mob of people in line stared at me like I was an idiot who had never used a debit card before. I picked the lesser of all the evils and punched the $20 key. The till rang up $27.28. The alarm bells in my head screamed again. It was only supposed to be $7.28. Then I remembered I was getting $20 back.
Technology is hard on my nervous system. I wanted to go back ten years to the dark ages when people carried cash, gold nuggets or grain. I grabbed the $20 and the bandage then slunk out of the store.
“Now you have cash.” I said to Kristjana as I flopped into the passenger seat and handed her the package and the money.
“Mom, why did you get $20?”
“The machine said I had to.”
“Did you not see the ‘no cash’ button?”
“Kristjana, people were staring at me. I did not have time to read the thing like a novel. What’s wrong with carrying a few dollars anyway?”
“I can’t believe you can't use a debit card.” She passed me the $20. “You take this. Buy something for my dog.”
I might not know how to use a debit card but I am smart enough to know that I am $20 richer. I smell a business opportunity.
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