Absence of fallback

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So, a lot of our time is spent considering the fall back position for when things go wrong. Like, for example, the hideous delay selling the house – as we enter the depressing winter months and no-one buys houses I’m contemplating the possibility of a mortgage hiatus, and so on.

Today we had the interesting experience of watching a large supermarket who have, apparently, no fall back position. Just after we loaded the conveyor belt in our local Sainsburys, their EFTPOS* system fell down. Or, to the uninitiated, they could no longer take card payments. Gradually the entire line of tills consisted of cashiers with arms up holding ‘next customer’ dividers – which appears to be their method of indicating that they need help.

Slowly the supervisor made his way around the agitated queues – and they announced that they were no longer able to take card payments, and could only take cash. I made a rapid dash for the cashpoint, leaving Kathryn in the queue – and made it to be about the 5th person in what quickly became a very, very long queue. I just found it very interesting – I certainly rarely carry enough cash to buy our shopping, and I no longer carry a cheque book, as I once did.

Back when the world was new and shiny they had the kerchunky-carbon-copy credit-card machines, which would be yanked out when all else failed and the shiny new EFTPOS systems fell over. Hell, when I first had a debit card that was *all* that was around, pretty much. So it was a bit odd to see that Sainsburys appeared to have absolutely no fallback plan for when their systems fail. Pretty impressive way to annoy customers, though, I’d’ve thought. For me, it was no great shakes *this week*. But last week? When we were down to living off credit? Well – then it’d’ve been a complete pain, ‘cos we’d’ve had to go to another store – probably Tesco, and they’d’ve been left with a trolley load of stuff to put away. Ah well.

In other news, we’ve had 2 viewings this weekend. Keep your fingers crossed, because we’re pretty desparate.

* Electronic Funds Transfer (at Point of Sale)


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