I used to like cash. It was great, but it wore out your pocket. And you’d forget, so you’d drop a five-pence piece into your pocket, and feel it go through the hole and roll down your leg like some sort of unholy cold metal wee-wee.
Now I like debit cards. They really are great, because they involve pressing buttons – and everyone enjoys pressing buttons.*
But the thing I like most about debit cards is playing PIN Cushion.
What’s PIN Cushion? Well, have you ever noticed there’s a small period of time between the message appearing on the keypad saying “Please Enter Your PIN” and the shop assistant saying “Enter your PIN, please?” It’s usually only a second or two.
That period of time is called the PIN Cushion, and lends its name to the game. The object of the game is to type your PIN code BEFORE the shop assistant can say “Enter your PIN, please.”
You get a point for each digit successfully typed and bonus points if the shop assistant issues her instruction even if you’ve already typed the whole PIN.
Today I have taken part in three transactions and taken four points, which gives me a PIN Cushion score of 4/3.
Can anybody do better?
* That’s why the prime minister hasn’t really got a nuclear button. Too tempting. Instead, he has to call somebody on a nuclear submarine and read out some codes, which I imagine is a bit like paying a bill over the phone, boring and costly. Frankly, I’m all in favour of any small obstacles that could slightly put leaders of the free world off launching atomic attacks.