Sometimes people really scare me regarding the lack of curiosity in things around them. This story on digg is a good example. I’m sure it’s mildly entertaining to write crazy signatures on your receipt, but a lot of the comments are scary.
First that people are surprised about this indicates that they are absolutely not observant of a single credit card transaction that has occurred in their lives. They thought the cashier was looking. Well, did you see them looking? Were you distracted by something shiny? Thousands of times through your life? How many times does the cashier even have your credit card and the signed receipt at the same time? It’s not very often, and unless you think cashiers have some fantastic memory for signatures I don’t see how you could continue with this theory. Most cashiers won’t even remember your face 10 minutes later.
Further, even if they aren’t observant, from a systems point of view, what would be the goal? You have to believe that people are checking your signature for verification, yet you also know that in many situations your signature isn’t checked, Pay at the pump, self-swipe card readers at the grocery, online ordering etc. How do you integrate these two beliefs into any coherent model?
One commenter even goes so far as to be amazed that the transaction would need to be voided even though he didn’t sign the receipt. I can accept this from a 60 year old, but, being a digg commenter I (incorrectly?) assume they are somewhat technologically aware. I guess the thought is that the cashier somehow verifies that the signature is valid and that finalizes the transaction. Which of course is totally inefficient and stupid. The only other possibility though is that the commenter thinks somehow the signature itself is the magic action that finalizes it.