Tripping lightly through the digital world the other day – also known as wasting time on the Internet – I came across this gem:
Check writing is in danger of becoming a lost practice. You know, like dialing a telephone (the kind with a dial, not a keypad), popping popcorn on the stove or getting up and walking across the room to change the TV channel.
(The story about check-writing actually said it was becoming a lost art. I changed that to practice. Sorry, but I don’t see what amounts to filling in the blanks on a rectangular piece of paper as “art.” Popping corn I can see as art, sure, but not paying the gas bill.)
The gist of the article, published at dailyfinance.com, was this: It’s so easy to pay for things electronically that there’s really no need to fool with checks anymore. Why go to all that bother when you can accomplish the same thing faster with a cell phone or a computer?
Good point, that. And let’s be honest, paying by check IS a bother. At least it is at my house, where checks are pretty much reserved for paying bills, and it usually goes like this:
1. Sort bills into piles: Those to be paid now, those to be paid at a later date, and uh-oh.
2. Find checkbook. This is not as easy as it looks. Checkbooks migrate. Mine has been known to move from the pocket of my jacket to the kitchen counter all by itself, overnight. And then it hides so I can’t find it even if it’s right in front of me. Or behind me. More than once it sneaked into my back pocket while I wasn’t looking and remained there, giggling, while I tore the house apart looking for it.
3. Find pen that works. Again, this can be easier said than done since only one person in this house seems to be capable of putting a cap back on a pen and that person is … well, I won’t name any names, but … yes I will. It’s me.
4. Find stamps. And good luck with that. This usually requires a trip to the post office.
5. Now you may write checks. Provided the checkbook didn’t run off and hide while you were buying stamps, that is.
Compared to that, making a few keystrokes or swiping a debit card through a card reader or whatever you do to avoid check-writing makes a lot of sense. Which is why the second part of the article was slightly hilarious.
It was instructions on how to write a check.
Really. After all that noise about checks being old-fashioned, paragraph after paragraph followed covering everything from how to fill out the date to being sure to sign the silly thing. And it made me think are there really people over the age of 12 who don’t know how to write a check?
I guess there must be, or dailyfinance.com wouldn’t have seen the need to print instructions, huh?
In that case, allow me to add one further instruction. Where it says “Pay to the order of…” simply put my name. I’ll leave the amount up to you but I’ve always believed that bigger numbers are better. Then pop the thing into an envelope and mail it to me.
Assuming you can find a stamp.