The Social Experiment

by David Gluzman

I don’t know why this is, but every time I pay for something with my credit card during the past several months I seem to get given the up and down. Maybe it’s because I’m in my twenties and have gold and platinum cards, but I wouldn’t think this makes any difference.

So here is the scenario: You are about to pay for something, then you hand over your “charge card” to the teller, they promptly look at it and flip it upside down (signature up). They then proceed to give you a tiny yet noticeable glare (not always, but often). Following your signature of the receipt they will perhaps try and compare your signatures with the one on the card; promptly glare back at you then hand you the card. Now I realize that credit card fraud is high in this country, but I honestly don’t think that anyone does anything about it.

To prove this I embarked on a social experiment in credit card purchasing. Every time I would pay for something on my credit card I would then make sure to act cool and make sure to sign absolutely nothing like my proper signature. The results I may say were quite interesting.

One of the best examples I have is when I purchased about forty dollars worth or crap at my local supermarket. Normal glare treatment followed, followed by the standard signature check. I made sure to make my signature interesting and made a couple of circles as a signature. The teller looked at it, and said “this doesn’t look like your signature”, and I returned by saying “oh, don’t worry it’s me!” No questions followed and I leaved the store without a care in the world.

After a few weeks of experimentation, a few things were observed. Firstly, clerks are often too chicken to even mention anything, or they don’t even care. Otherwise, people will notice and give you a dirty look but again not say a word. What the hell is wrong with people? Ask me for some id or something, theses are credit cards people! Grr. I guess if you are lucky enough to find my wallet I’m pretty much screwed.

Oh well. I still continue to pay for things with credit, just because I can’t deal with the everyday cash dealings. However, I do hope that companies will start to be a little more stringent on credit card usage in the future (if anyone besides me says anything). If you’re into having some fun, try signing your receipts in the future in really bizarre fashions and watch peoples reactions; it’s more fun than going to the movies.

  • The Social Experiment
  • by David Gluzman
  • Published on May 1st, 2002

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