In Contact

Enclosed is your new contactless Clubcard.

That’s what the latest mailing from Tesco says. As though the contactless Clubcard is the greatest thing since someone decided to slice some bread.

And all the while neglecting the fact that the previous Tesco Clubcard was contactless. In that it did not have to make contact with anything in order to be used. Because it had a bar code on it, which you scanned. Much like the new contactless one does.

Wow, the march of progress, huh?

And anyway, the contactless card is a bit of a misnomer. Because for all its high-faluting technology, 99% of us use it to make contact with the thing that it is contacting contactlessly.

No-one uses the card in the way it was designed – to be sort of wafted above the device, like a magic wand atop a top hat. No, instead we press the card onto the screen of the thing which, actually, obscures the helpful messages telling you the transaction has gone through. To continue the magician’s analogy, we’re pushing the card inside the hat with such force that the numbers are imprinted on the rabbit. Or dove, if it’s one of those fancy-shmancy magic types.

This is why we’re not ready, as a society, for things like retina scanners. The populous will be half-blind or, at best black of eye, because rather than letting the scanner read at a suitable distance we’ve pushed our eyes hard onto the sensors.

By the same token, I suspect that most people who use the fingerprint scanner on the iPhone home button don’t rest their finger/thumb lightly, prefering instead to instigate a vice like grip on the base of the phone, white knuckles shining like a beacon.