Check It Out

            I recall the days when people wrote checks. I’d be standing in the quick lane with my one or two items behind someone who had a cartful of groceries, often chatting away with the cashier while their order was rung up, bagged, and put in the cart. Then, once all of that was completed, she would finally open her purse and dig through it to find her checkbook.

“Oh, where is that thing?” she’d cry and look innocently at me.

Finally, she’d find it and flip through the pages to a new check.

“What’s todays date?” she’d write it in. “And that was how much?” she’d write it in, slowly tear the check along the perforated line, and give the check to the cashier.

“Ma’am, you forgot to sign your check.”

“Oh, how stupid of me,” she’d laugh.

‘That’s the truth,’ I’d mutter, pondering self-righteously how before I left the house, I had my check fully made out and signed, needing only the amount to be filled in.

It’s so much easier now, with fewer people writing checks, using debit cards instead. Now, as I wait behind someone with a full load of groceries in the quick lane, after chatting with cashier, they can pull out their debit card and punch in a bunch of numbers that don’t work. After which, they rifle through their purse to find that little notebook in which is hidden a small piece of paper covered with PIN numbers and passwords.

“That’s the one,” she says triumphantly as she pounds the keys.

“Ma’am, your card has been declined.”

“Oh, dear, let me write you a check . . .”

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