Photograph ©2021 by Brian Cohen.

Warning: Be Careful When Using a Tabletop Device to Pay For Your Meal

Pay attention during the process of paying for your meal.

One form of technology which has appeared at what are known in the dining industry as fast-casual restaurants is the tabletop device, with which you can order food and beverage items, play games, and pay for your meal by either using points from your frequent dining program membership account or with your credit card or debit card…

Warning: Be Careful When Using a Tabletop Device to Pay For Your Meal

Photograph ©2021 by Brian Cohen.

…and paying for your meal is the part with which you should be careful.

The tabletop device is typically equipped with a slot with which your credit card or debit card can be read — either on the front or at the rear of the device — whether you swipe the card with a magnetic strip on the back or insert the card with a chip.

As more credit cards with chips have been available in recent years, you would insert the card and leave it in the slot until all instructions have been followed and all requirements have been met in order to pay the bill. Depending on the strength of the wireless connection, the duration of the process could run anywhere between less than a minute to several minutes to complete.

Ziosk claims to be the leader in the industry.

Photograph ©2021 by Brian Cohen.

When the bill was being paid during a recent experience at a dining establishment which is equipped with a wireless tabletop device on every table, I was not paying attention, as I had not realized that a previous customer had accidentally left a credit card inserted in the slot at the rear of the device until attempts to insert the credit card were repeatedly unsuccessful.

That other credit card of the unsuspecting customer wound up accidentally paying for my meal — until a manager of the restaurant was notified of what happened. She reversed the charges of the other customer and applied them to the correct credit card.

She also revealed that this happens more times than one would think.

Final Boarding Call

If I were dishonest and unethical, I could have simply walked out of the restaurant with my meal paid by another person — and no one would have been the wiser.

Sure, the other person whose credit card was still inserted in the device could dispute the charge with the bank that issued the credit card — and would likely be successful in doing so — but that means lost time and effort in having that situation resolved; and someone would still be out of the money for the cost of my meal.

To avoid this from happening to you, be diligent about keeping an eye on your credit card at all times. Try not to be distracted during the entire process of paying the bill while using one of these tabletop devices…

…or you can request that you pay your bill with an employee of the restaurant instead — not that that would guarantee that that old-fashioned process would be free of problems…

All photographs ©2021 by Brian Cohen.


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