Sunday, January 16, 2005

Credit Card Signatures

There's a very amusing discussion of signatures on Credit Card reciepts at the Scream online. (See also Zug)

It reminds me of a funny little routine that used to happen all the time when Mrs. essays & effluvia and I were first married.

Despite being responsible for billions of dollars at work, I am totally irresponsible with my own cash, almost childlike in my own incompetence. I am cognizant of this, and that's why the missus has always been in charge of the household budget, bills, credit cards, etc.

Whenever we went out to dinner (or any restaurant), she would take the check, pull out the credit card, and give it to the waiter/waitress. And on 4 out of 5 occasions, after running it through, they would hand the reciept for signature -- back to me.

For obvious reasons, this used to annoy her endlessly. It became a longstanding joke between us. Whenever she expressed her ire over this obvious sexism, I always explained to her the simple reason why it was so:   "Its because I have the Penis."

I don't know what the power of the Penis is, that it magnetically attracts those seeking a credit card authorization -- but it was an inescapable fact of life. This would annoy the wife endlessly. But unknownst to her, each and every single time this happened, that harmless phrase was exactly how I  inscribed the credit card receipt: 

"I have the penis"

For a while, I didn't tell her about this signature game. After a particularly galling incident, when she was furious, I finally showed her the sig on the yellow carbon reciept, signed "I have the Penis".

She laughed at first, and then scowled, admonishing me that "they might notice."  

"Well they haven't noticed anytime over the past 12 years, why should they notice now?"

I told her what I had been doing all along, and she utterly, positively refused to believe me.

We went home, she pulled out her reciept folder (yes, she keeps all her reciepts in a folder in chronological order; I, on the other hand, prefer to leave them in my pockets and run them through the washing machine, in order to facilitate their journey to paper pulp heaven).

She pulls her folder, and -- Lo & behold -- in black and white and yellow: there it is, years and years of "penis sigs." They were in script, and a bit messy, but totally readable signatures declaring:  "I have the Penis."

So much for the important critical security and validity of credit card signatures . . .

Posted at 07:47 AM in Finance, Humor | Permalink


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I've noticed that I pay more and more attention to money the less I make of it. I have a good year and I'll go nuts on CDs and reading material. (I've listened have music in the iPod that I forgot I bought because I just ripped it and left it until months later.)

OTOH, I have a bad year, and I'll be eating plain yogurt for a week and checking books out from the library.

I can only imagine what it must be like to handle billions of dollars at work, but I'd guess that it must make your indulgences look like a rounding error...

Posted by: Will Sargent | Jan 16, 2005 11:53:39 PM

The thought of signing for a credit card scares me for that reason ;)

My current credit card hasn't had a signature on the back of it for over a year now, it's rubbed off from the constant swiping though the machines. Here in New Zealand all card transactions are done electronically with your PIN as ID. You do have the option of signing for credit cards though.

On the other hand, my card does have my photo on it...

Posted by: Phillip Hutchings | Jan 17, 2005 12:10:10 AM

Never have enough guts to do such childish brilliant experiment, but sure is laughing out loud reading this. It is undeniably educating also.

Posted by: tv brackets | Apr 3, 2008 10:20:27 AM

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