Posts tagged “transaction”

Financial pings

I received the above notification today. A new client has put a penny in our bank account. We haven’t started the project (or even signed the contract) yet; this is clearly some validating that they have the correct bank details in their system.

I appreciate the gesture (better to work it out now then when they actually owe us something), but it’s such a weird artifact. There’s some interesting signal processing thing happening here; the message (“Hello Portigal bank account, are you receiving?”) isn’t meant to contain any actual content (“Here’s some money!”) but the system doesn’t allow any contact without content, so $0.01 is this meaningless amount that gets moved in order to prove out the connection.

I’ve authorized services like PayPal or Quickbooks to read and write my bank account; if I recall, they send a value below $1.00 and then ask you to verify the amount.

But this is just write access and we’re still doing ping/validations.

Will they deduct $0.01 from my first invoice? Will they try to get it back? Are penny errors so common now that there’s no concern about these piling up here and there?

Otherwise, I guess, woo-hoo! Free money!

The bear that saluted me

I thought this advertising bear in Shinjuku was cool, and so stopped to take a picture. The bear saw me and posed with the typical Asian two-fingered V-gesture. After I took the photo, I did my best gaijin attempt at a bow. The bear returned the bow, and then saluted me.

Without a common language (indeed without a common species) we had an interesting opportunity to share our knowledge of each other’s culture in gestures. And although I rarely salute my friends and family, I understood its intent as a gesture-of-Western-origin.

Japan is quite impenetrable to the outsider, and it’s easy to subsist on a parallel layer, free from the possibility or opportunity for everyday interactions. In our two weeks that moat was crossed less than a dozen times (i.e., the couple in a cafe who smiled and waved at me when I peered in the window and inadvertently triggered the sliding door, letting in some very cold air; the couple who saw us eating Taiyaki (cooked sweet batter filled with bean paste in the sahpe of a fish) and explained what it was, what is was called, and compared camera models) and each time was rewarding in its own small way.

But making this connection with a bear, in the land of kawaii, was briefly and intensely magical.

Swiping Slot Blocked

The local Macy’s store has modified all their card reading boxes so that the card swiping slot is blocked. That t-shaped blob of plastic along the right side is where the slot used to be.

The software hasn’t changed, however, and while your purchases are being run up you are asked (as always) to swipe the card. I looked for quite a while, feeling stupid, trying to to figure out where the heck to put my card.

There was no place.

They also have not changed their staff training, so there was no mention of what to do or not do with the card.

Eventually, they take the card from you and swipe it themselves, and you return to the device to “sign” the purchase.


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