When Did I Catch Up with the Future?

As a kid, the ice cream guy and the paperboy both had these mechanical devices on their belts to dispense coins for making change. Busses had the same device, but it was mounted near the box into which you put your fare. You dropped your money in, it sat on a little shelf, and if correct, the bus driver would press a lever to drop the coins into the hermetically sealed, iron-sheathed, impenetrable lock box. It must have been so, because nobody robbed bus drivers.

These people also “counted back” your change. No computer told them how much change was due. If the cost of an item was $1.73 and you handed them a five dollar bill, merchants of all types would do the following:

Put two pennies in your hand and say, “That’s $1.75,” then add a quarter. “Two dollars, followed by three more bills (or maybe silver dollars), “and that’s five. Thank you.”

I got used to handing my credit card to the cashier so they could imprint it on the proper form (don’t forget to get the carbons to prevent identity theft!). Then I was required to swipe the card myself through a reader; today, with microchips, you plug your credit card in.

My point?

As an old guy, signing the little LCD pad was always a challenge. Today, however, I noticed that I was able to sign as legibly on the electronic pad as I can with pen and paper.


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