Wednesday, February 15, 2006
The Tuesday Twat(s)No. 52. The Chip and PIN Doomsayers
Chaos! Catastrophe! Hordes of desperate people forming mile-long queues as the British economy falters under the onslaught and the FTSE 100 slumps.
If you have been watching the news or reading the newspaper headlines over the past week, you may be forgiven that something monumental was about to happen regarding February 14th's compulsary switch to Chip and PIN. For those of you from overseas (who probably started using a PIN number to sign for goods at the shop till 10 years ago), the British press has been working iteslf into a right old lather regarding this.
Well, as I write this in the early hours of the 15th (my WiFi has crashed and I can't be arsed to reconfigure it yet again), there have been no reports of massive queues or Till Rage.
And why the fuck would there be? We've had the bloody things for 2 years. Anybody who has shopped in a major supermarket or bought petrol in the past 12 months (so basically 99% of the population) will have been offered a small electronic keypad and asked to enter their PIN number. Posters are plastered all over till points, the date chosen was deliberately memorable (Valentine's day for fuck's sake) and the press has been reminding everyone.
Not only that, most people's daily transactions will involve their debit card that also doubles as a cash card - so unless they are in the habit of getting cash over the bank counter rather than using an ATM, they simply use their regular PIN number. Contingencies exist for those who are unable to use a PIN number, they can use a special signature only card. Sure, every so often somebody will use their credit card, for which they don't know the number, but for the past 2 years they have been allowed to sign and then reminded to phone their bank for a new number. Frankly, if you need telling more than once you're a twat and deserve the embarassment of a whole queue tutting as you look for another card.
Basically, the whole thing has been a media fabrication. Yesterday, the BBC managed to find a wide-range of folks concerned about the impact that this would have on society. Interestingly, all of them seemed to know their PIN numbers - yet also seemed to assume that no one else would. One woman claimed it would be as disruptive as going decimal. WTF? That involved the overnight switching of a monetary system based on 240 pennies or 20 shillings to the pound, to a decimilised system involving 100 pennies, not to mention the scrapping of several different types of currency.
So to all of those Doomsayers - a Tuesday Twat Award. Please check the amount and enter your PIN here.
Labels: The Tuesday Twat(s)
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