@Jack Please bring @Square mobile payments to PDX cabs.

Credit Card Imprint from a CabThursday night was First Thursday in PDX. (Portland) For those of you who do not know what that it is an event the first Thursday of every month in which art galleries, artists, creative agencies, and voyeurs of art and people take to the streets of Portland in the Pearl District and Old Town to celebrate the creative talents our little stump town.  Galleries and agencies swing open their doors and allow the masses to peruse. There are a ton of restaurants and bars in the area as well which are typically teaming with cocktail and beer seeking Portlanders and visitors to our friendly city. A section of the streets are shut down to allow for tents of art and the artists displaying and it all happens rain or shine under the moon and the stars.

Perfect excuse to seep in the culture that is Portland and enjoy the many libations and gnosh on the great nibbles our town has to offer. You feel creative just experiencing the buzz and hum from the streets and all the people purveying and seeking art, a good time, or both, . I swear that vibe makes the alcohol hit faster and taste even sweeter. This Thursday I attended. I bounced from a friends birthday happy hour, to a few Agency open houses, to a few of the bars and then re-converged back with the friends celebrating a birthday for some late night Taco eats. With the Taco house closing around us we parted ways and I walked to my car. It was then that I realized I was probably significantly too intoxicated to drive home.  No problem, I called a cab.

Being a girl who has had a few drinks, I prefer not to take a cab alone, but the alternative risks were too steep, so I hailed away. My cab driver was friendly enough, probably a bit too friendly in retrospect. He asked if would ever cheat on my husband?  I am still not sure if that was a proposition or just harmless banter, but it made me uncomfortable nonetheless. He proceeded to tell me he would never marry a girl like me, one looked like me and that would go out without my husband and could not be controlled.  Nice, thanks buddy, I wouldn’t marry you either. I don’t need controlling and what exactly do I look like? I asked him if he had a daughter and I guess the answer was yes, because he immediately shut up. It made me realize, what I already knew, that cultural, gender, and generational divides are still wide and rampant, but that is for another post.

Really the biggest thing that bothered me about the cab ride home wasn’t the conversation it was the damn payment process. I had a little cash, but not enough for the full ride. I knew that PDX cabs supported credit card payments, but when it came time to pay the swiper wasn’t working…so a manual entry of the car number was next. It was dark in the cab and it took three attempts to get the number entered right.   Next he had to pull out the old fashioned hand swipper card copier so he could make an imprint of my card. All the while I am wondering if I am being charged for the minutes it is taking to figure our the payment system or if this is some clever ploy to keep me in the cab longer, you know that independent girl he would never marry.  Finally 15 minutes later when all the entering and swiping and signing was done I departed the cab. Now I was just going home for the night and I had nowhere else to go, but it got me thinking, I just wasted 15 minutes waiting for my payment to go through. What if I had been going to a meeting, to the airport, to an event. Fifteen minutes is a long time in those circumstances.

I have been seeing a ton of twitter chatter about cabs already using @square in San Francisco and I am jealous. I want a quick checkout process. I just hope this technology is adopted in PDX soon. For those of you who do not know what Square is, it brought to us by Jack Dorsey of Twitter Fame and is a new mobile payment system. It is a pocket-sized swiper that plugs into the audio jack of your Android, iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. It then accesses the Square app on your device and allows you to accept payments on the go with your mobile device. PERFECT for PORTLAND, perfect for our Cabs, our art exhibit tents, our food festival tents, our Beer Tents, Farmer’s Market, Saturday Market, and the explosion of PDX foodcarts.  It is so convenient, will shorten customer service and checkout lines and could have saved me 15 minutes of sitting in a dark cab with a man who would never marry me. So @square, please come to PDX soon or rather PDX please adopt @square soon. I need my 15 minutes for better things.

This entry was posted in Ecommerce, Mobile Apps, Mobile Culture and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.