I’m afraid I caused quite a ruckus the other day at the eyeglass place. When it came time to pay for my new frames and lenses I whipped out a check. You would have thought I had presented the optician/cashier a hold up note.
But no, I simply chose to pay for my new glasses using a piece of paper with pretty colors on it and places in which to inscribe important information including how much money the eyeglass place would get in return for providing me with the optical appliance necessary for me to read my exorbitant bill or to avoid bumping into utility poles or street urchins.
Here’s how it went down. The optician presents me with my bill. I present her with a check for required amount. Couldn’t be easier. But oh, it could. Her once confident demeanor crumbled into total doubt. Her eyes darted then settled on her computer monitor as she furiously started tapping keys.
“I’m gonna see if I can log into the check system. We haven’t used it, like, ever,” she informed me. “OK…it’s….just….churning.”
Starting to panic she asked her colleague at the next station for help.
“Your customer is paying by check?” the colleague asked with a look of total incredulity. “Who pays by check?” she continued as her voice rose. “Let me try.”
Same deal. Now I’ve got two optician/cashiers with workstations churning and rumbling and refusing to perform any task related to entering my payment by check. I’m actually kind of enjoying this because I know where it’s going.
I figured I’d toss a lifeline. “Wanna use my credit card?” I offered with a goofy smile.
“Too late,” my original optician/cashier said. “Once the process has begun you can’t undo it.”
Oh. Seemed like the “process” was not actually proceeding.
Then she suddenly ran away for a few minutes finally returning with a printout and a relieved look.
“OK…we did it. Needed a supervisor to do her magic. It’s done,” she said, obviously thankful her dealings with a, shall we say, “traditionalist” Boomer were almost complete.
Just a few weeks earlier, when I presented a check to pay for service to my car, the guy at the dealership whines to me, “you know how much extra work you’re causing me paying by check?” Poor snowflake! Here’s my license, do the thing!
When I told my millennial daughter about these episodes she was not sympathetic.
“What is wrong with you? No one pays by check, or even with money! Do it on your phone like normal people. Or at least use a credit card!” she scolded me.
My wife and I find it extremely easy to keep our records straight using them, you can’t hack paper and our information is never lost or compromised. Plus, the ones we ordered have pretty colors and we ordered a million of ’em so we’re pretty committed to paying by check for a good, long time. And yes, we do use credit cards…and pay our bill by check.
Now don’t peg us as old fart Luddites. We use all the latest technology as it suits us. Smartphones, computers, tablets, Bluetooth, big ass LCD TV, online reservations and purchases…. everything…but we stick with our check for some things.
Oh, we’re not alone. Here’s the kicker. There was a guy of similar, um, vintage to me sitting at the next station at the eyeglass place. Just as my challenging transaction was wrapping up, the man was given his total.
“Oh, sure. Who do I make out the check to?” he asked. I smiled the whole way home.