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March 3, 2013

KNISELY: Making it way too hard

— The debit card.

It was invented for its convenience. Well, I presume it was.

I wasn’t actually involved in its inception or creation. But we’ll work off this convenience theory for my purposes today.

Anyway, using a debit card is billed as being the convenient way to shop. No more counting change. No more filling out checks. Simply swipe a card and (poof!) you’re out the door.

All was well in the debit card kingdom until retailers got involved. The time you saved not filling out that check is now being sucked up with an ever-increasing number of questions at the checkout.

Before — when everything was right with the world — the machine asked for your PIN. The end.

Now — when nothing makes sense anymore — there seems to be no end to the questions. And if you’re like me, you find it annoying. And what better wAy to respond to annoying than by being irrational. For me, that means responding audibly to the Spanish Inquisition at the checkout.


Machine display: Is this a debit card transaction?

Me, in my head: Yeah, duh. There has to be some sort of computer chip telling you that, so listen to it.

Machine: Please enter your PIN.

Me, in my head: **** (That’s all you’re getting on my thoughts there, Mr. ID Thief.)

Machine: Your total is $7.50. Do you want any cash back? $10, $20, $30 ...

Me, in my head: Nope. I’d just spend it on the claw machine on the way out.

Machine: Is this total correct?

Me, out loud: Well, you already said my total was $7.50, and I said I didn’t want any cash back. Do you really need me to check your math on $7.50 + 0? If that’s the case, I don’t think that doing business with you is such a good idea. You’re kind of an idiot.

Machine: Do you want all of the total on this card?

Me, out loud(er): Nope. I want 5 cents on this card. Then I’m going to give you another card, on which I’m going to charge 10 cents. Then I’m going to dig through my purse, where I plan to find 78 cents. And then, to make us even, I’ll write you a check for $6.57. And I won’t even ask anyone to check my math on that.

Misty Knisely is managing editor of the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5155 or

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