Sign here for years of aggravation

Share
Related Topics
I fully expect to be arrested for credit card fraud any day now.

The scenario will be like this. I am buying some vital summertime household item in a reputable store, such as a hammock or a man-size cactus plant, and after a bit of haggling I agree to pay the full price. I hand over my credit card. The assistant makes me sign all the forms, and then goes behind the scenes, saying: "Just a moment, please."

Now, if this were happening in a restaurant, I'd know what was going on. The waiter would be retiring to a safe corner to make a note of my credit card number, my signature and my details so that he could later make lots of purchases in my name. Maybe he even has a machine in the kitchen that reproduces credit cards on the spot. I don't know. Fair enough, though.

But the scenario in the big department store where I buy my cactus and hammocks is different. I know that behind the scenes the assistant is talking to a Mr Robinson and saying, "I think there's something funny about this payment ..."

And the reason she is saying this is that my signature on the form doesn't look much like the signature on the credit card.

And the reason she is saying this is that I have just received a new credit card. And when I came to obey the instructions ("Cut your old credit card in 10,000 tiny pieces and burn each one in a separate bonfire, then sign your new card AND NEVER EVER LOSE SIGHT OF IT except of course in a restaurant when letting a waiter have it to take to his little machine in the kitchen to make thousands more like it ") I tried to sign the new card, and found that there wasn't enough room on the little strip for my normal signature so I made a mess of it, and now the signature on my credit card looks as if it belongs to Mike Kim.

Am I the only one who thinks that the signature space on modern credit cards does not correspond to the size of modern signatures? Over the years I have worked out a fairly consistent signature which, if my mind is elsewhere, I can always reproduce accurately. (If I am trying to concentrate, I make a mess of it. Signing your name is one of those things that have to be done without thinking about them, like reversing a car into a small space, carrying a very full glass of water, or dancing the waltz.) But when I try to get this familiar signature on to a credit card, my pen slides off the strip at top and bottom and while I am trying to force it back on again, my signature goes all agley, like a car rolling from side to side of the road after hitting the kerb.

So I end up called Mike Kim on my credit card.

But I sign my credit card slip from Miles Kington. And the lady in the department store hurries away to consult Mr Robinson before sending for the police.

Which brings us fleetingly to Princess Diana.

Princess Diana has recently won pounds 15m in the Royal National Lottery, but lost her right to be called Her Royal Highness. A few people felt sorry for her and a lot of people felt that she was a lot more overpaid than any MP will ever be, but my immediate reaction was to think: Clever girl, she now has more of a chance of getting her name on to her credit card than she had before. Previously, she had to sign herself as "HRH Princess of Wales" or some such, but now she can get away with something a lot shorter. Whatever she's called now. (You can tell that I am not sure how these titles work. I myself was once divorced, and my ex-wife decided to keep the title she had gained through marriage, but as the title was only Mrs Kington, it never made the front page of the News of the World.)

The trouble with credit cards is that you don't get a second chance to do your signature. Whatever you write in that little strip is there for years and years. My only chance now is to painstakingly change my everyday signature to make it look more like the one signed by "Mike Kim" on my credit card, or even change my name by deed poll to Mike Kim. Or perhaps I could get it done by machine. These days, whenever you are trying to write a cheque out in a department store, the assistant always tries to stop you by saying, "No, we print the cheque for you," or more commonly, when you ask who it should be made payable to, "It's all right, we've got a stamp." Then they hand the cheque to you, together with a pen, for signature. At which point, I will reject the pen and say, "It's all right, I've got a stamp" and produce a printing stamp that has an exact reproduction of Mike Kim's signature on it.

It's a bit dodgy. But it's better than being arrested for credit card fraud.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established media firm based in Surrey is ...

Ashdown Group: Java Developer - Hertfordshire - £47,000 + bonus + benefits

£40000 - £470000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: Java Developer / J2EE Devel...

Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Director - London - £70,000

£70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive - Nationwide - OTE £65,000

£30000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small technology business ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Ice skating in George Square, Glasgow  

How many Christmas cards have you sent this year?

Simon Kelner
 

Al-Sweady Inquiry: An exercise in greed that blights the lives of brave soldiers

Richard Kemp
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum