See IQ

| Australia | Working | February 12, 2013

(It is 2004 and I, an American, am studying abroad in Australia for a semester. My credit cards all have “see ID” printed on the back signature line.)

Clerk: “Alright, your total is [price].”

Me: “Can I put it on a card?”

Clerk: “Sure!”

(I hand her my card, she rings it up, and then flips it over to look at the signature. Her eyes widen in surprise as she peers at it.)

Clerk: “What… what does this mean?”

Me: “Oh, sorry. Yeah, it’s something some people do in the states. It means you should compare the name on the card with an official ID to make sure it’s me. Beause signatures can be forged, and all.”

Clerk: “Oh, okay! So… can I see your ID please?”

(I hand her my Australian-government-issued ID. She compares the two, and then hands them back, beaming.)

Clerk: “Okay, looks good!”

(The receipts print up, and she hands me the one to sign. I start to sign my name. She watches me, then suddenly exclaims…)

Clerk: “No! Wait, that’s wrong!”

Me: “I’m sorry, what?”

Clerk: “The signatures have to match, right? So it has to match what it says on the card.”

Me: “You…want me to sign ‘See ID’ on the receipt?”

Clerk: *nods*

Me: “But that’s not really how it works—”

Clerk: “But they have to match!”

(At this point, she’s starting to look a little panicked, so I decide not to debate the point. With a sigh, I sign “See ID” on the receipt, with a flourish.)

Clerk: *relieved & cheerful* “Have a great day!”

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