Before it disappears, consider the electronic signature pad, sometimes called the “signature capture pad” (one wonders if there’s a ransom to be paid to release the signature). Signature pads are ridiculous and wonderful at the same time. They’re ridiculous because they don’t work as advertised, like most features of our digital life. Who really takes the time to sign carefully, completely, one’s name on such a device?
This article is adapted from “Paid: Tales of Dongles, Checks, and Other Money Stuff,” a collection of essays about objects left in the wake of transactions.

“Nearly everything about the process of signing one’s name appears to be in place to dissuade the signer from giving it an honest go,” laments one journalist about both signature pads and their paper-world prototype, the credit card receipt. “Signature pads at stores are terribly awkward, credit card receipt signature lines are often far too tiny, and the people accepting our signatures tend not to care about the appearance of what we scribble.”

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