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May 27, 2007

Fun at the checkout


From an article on machine character recognition by Mark Fischetti in the new (June 2007) Scientific American:

    Not At Home Depot

    Customers who sign for a credit-card purchase on a small electronic pad by a cash register may think their signature is being analyzed, but it is probably not.

    Most retailers simply store the whole image "just to save paper," says David Doermann of the University of Maryland.

    Next time, he proposes, draw something completely different and see if a clerk or machine questions you.


Even better: use your other (non-writing) hand to sign your name.

Note to self: Contact David Doermann and see if he'd consider being a contributor — anyone in a position of prominence and responsibility who's by nature subversive belongs here.

May 27, 2007 at 05:01 PM | Permalink


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I shop at the local Walmart Super store 2 to 3 times a week. Everytime I use either my debit or credit card for my purchase. In the last year I have not signed my own name once.
Names I have used:

Santa Clause
The Devil
blah blah blah
Moe Larry and Curley
Nude shopper
Rick James
All names are neat and clear. Good security measures at the ol' Walmart

Posted by: Richard Wing | Jun 16, 2007 9:34:50 PM

Have you seen the credit card pranks?

I was questioned once at a self-service checkout for drawing a wavy line.

Posted by: June | May 28, 2007 10:38:22 AM

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