Social Insecurity, Part 6

, , , , , | Right | September 17, 2018

(Our store has a rewards program attached to its store credit card, sending exclusive coupons to card-holders. Because they are exclusive to card-holders, only a store credit card can be used as payment when using the coupons. I have a woman in my line who has used one, and pulls out her debit card.)

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but you do have to use your store card to use this coupon.”

(This usually isn’t an issue, since it is printed on the coupons themselves.)

Customer: “Oh, you guys make this so difficult! I just want to use one card for everything and keep it all together! Why is it so hard to just buy things anymore?”

(As she’s complaining, she searches her wallet but doesn’t find her card.)

Me: “We can look up your account; it only takes a second. Here, put your social into the pin-pad, please.”

Customer: “The whole thing? Can’t you look it up by phone number?”

Me: “Uh… No, it has to be by social; that’s the only way to look it up from our end.”

Customer: “I am not putting my number into this thing.”

Me: “Well, I’m really not sure what else we can do.”

Customer: “I’m going to write it down, and you type it in on your end. Then you can give the paper back to me.”

(I just sort of stand there, flabbergasted that she thinks giving a stranger a physical copy of her SSN is safer than typing it into a machine where no one else sees it. I take the paper once it’s written down, making sure to keep it hidden from anyone else but myself, and type it in. One of the numbers could be a four or a nine, and I can’t tell with her handwriting.)

Me: “Ma’am, could you tell me which number that is?”

Customer: *looks around at the customers behind her and leans in close, whispering* “It’s a four.”

(I could barely hear her answer, but typed it in and was able to complete the transaction. I understand being concerned about someone skimming the pin-pad for that sort of thing, and we check them every day to make sure that isn’t happening, but I still cannot grasp why creating a physical copy and letting a stranger look at it and type it in is any better.)

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