Impatience at point-of-sale

I was in Washington state last week with my friend Amy and her 2-year-old daughter, Sophie. We went to the Northwest Trek Wildlife Park so that Sophie could see her favorite animal (bears) in person for the first time.

At the end of the visit, we stopped in the gift shop and I found an adorable shirt for her. (With a bear, of course.)

I handed the shirt to the clerk and my credit card to Sophie to hand over.

The clerk was having trouble with the scanner. She tried repeatedly to get it to ring up. In that time, Sophie twice picked up my credit card and moved it closer to the clerk.

Although Sophie doesn’t understand retail technology, she does know when something is taking too long.

The experience also made me wonder whether kids will use cash as much as we did, when they are growing up accustomed to seeing their parents (and their parents’ friends) paying for so many things with plastic.

Even the exposure that many of us first had to money — cash that our parents gave us to pay for school lunches — has been replaced in many U.S. schools by prepaid systems.