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Cashiers don't understand Apple Pay and it's totally adorable

Susie Ochs | Oct. 24, 2014
"What just happened?!" is the typical reaction I've been getting when using Apple's game-changing new payments system.

"It's OK!" I tried to assure him. "It just launched today!" I picked up my socks and receipt and headed toward the door, feeling bad that I'd put him in a position where he felt like he had to apologize. (For what? I'm still not sure.) "Be well!" he called after me, which is a thing they're doing at Walgreens now, and then as the automatic door whooshed open, I heard him yell, "EMILY!" to someone else in the store. Maybe a manager. Maybe a manager with an iPhone.

The sleepy guy at Rite Aid
Then I went to Rite Aid. Rite Aid also sells socks, but instead I found a bag of gummi bears that purported to contain extra juice. Extra juicy gummi bears! Who was I to say no? I paid with Apple Pay. This cashier, a lanky, sleepy-looking fellow in his early 20s, wasn't even ready yet. You know how you can swipe your card before they are done ringing your stuff up? That didn't work with Apple Pay at this time, in this store. When he was done ringing up my one and only item (he was really tired, I'm telling you), I did the Apple Pay trick again.

"Thaaaaat is coooool," the man drawled, as he watched me do it. "But how do you know if you can trust it?"

I scrambled to think of a way to explain single-use tokens in 10 words or less. "It makes up a fake account number," I tried. "But the bank still knows it's me." Fourteen words! Not bad.

He looked me right in the eyes. "It sounds won-der-ful," he said, very slowly and intensely and he handed me my receipt. I grabbed my gummis and left.

Striking out at Chevron and getting ripped off at work
I also went to Chevron, but the convenience store part had already locked its doors, and the cashier wanted me to conduct my transaction through the bulletproof glass window on the side of the building. "Apple Pay?" I asked him, hoping maybe he'd open the doors so we could geek out on contactless payments together. He gave me the blank look my ridiculous question deserved. I said, "Never mind!" and filled my tank at the pump, where my only option was swiping.

Later I used Apple Pay at the soda machine in our office. The sodas are delivered by robot arm. It's the most high-tech soda machine I've ever used. When I first started working here I thought the fact that you could swipe (or tap!) a credit card to buy $1 can of soda was pretty funny in an "Only in America!" kind of way. Joke's on me, because when I don't have cash (which is always), I use my card to buy soda all the time. So I used Apple Pay. And I was cruelly charged $1.10 for a soda that would have cost $1 if I'd used bills or coins.

I'm never using Apple Pay at that soda machine again.


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