I’ve been doing a lot of thinking since I came down with the flu. I’ve not contracted a cold in years and can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been ill in the past couple of decades. I live a healthy lifestyle including exercising two hours every day. Yeah, I know I’m crazy. So what I’ve been thinking about is how did I get sick. Part of the answer is what Deep Throat said to Woodward and Bernstein, “…Follow the money.”
Being courteous and not wanting to spread germs, the nice looking lady in front of me in line at the drugstore coughs into her hand. She then walks up to the credit card terminal, taps in her phone number and pin then signs the screen with a pen that is cabled to the terminal.
I start thinking if that lady has a virus—or worse, the bubonic plague—and I pick that pen up then my hands will be infected with whatever incurable germs she’s spreading. I wonder if I wash my hands afterwards will I get rid of enough of the germs before it gets me. I then think about how many hundreds of people spreading contagions have used that same terminal before me. What am I going to do?… What else… I pay with my credit card and leave. Days later I’m coughing just like that nice looking lady.
Drugstores are a veritable epicenter of sick people and should be well aware of how diseases are spread. Why did this drugstore put me in this compromised situation? I think the answer is that there’s no financial incentive for drugstores to upgrade their credit card terminals into something that is touchless or sanitary. In fact, if you get sick, the drugstore stands to make more money. So bizarrely, spreading colds or flus are actually in the financial interest of drugstores.
Why are we stuck with these antiquated terminals that require a signature even when using strong forms of identification like Apple Pay? Does someone really believe that the Escher Sketch signature scribbled onto one of these terminals actually remotely resembles anyone’s real signature?
Common sense as well as studies have shown that these terminals are actually nasty disease infected cesspools. Would you go into a public bathroom and use the same cloth towel that the prior 500 people also used? I know someone is thinking why not just pay with cash. Sadly, studies have shown that cash is also a terrible disease vector.
Colds and flus cost our economy up to $150 billion dollars a year! Over the counter cold and flu “remedies” is an $8 billion dollar a year market. I don’t want to get the flu or a cold again. I don’t want to lose three weeks of my life to illness again. So I am unabashedly becoming a germaphobe! Hell, I’m going to get a t-shirt that proudly proclaims my new proclivity. I’m going to ask the clerk to clean that terminal before I use it. If everyone demanded that every store clean their germ infected terminals before each use then I suspect we’d have a new touchless system in place in record time. Follow the money…