I have, like many fine writers before me, more than a passing familiarity with retail. Sellin’ stuff, ringin’ up, don’t-quit-your-day-job type jobs. Everyone needs a little steady income!
So every once in a while something entertaining and word-related crosses my counter at the Day Job. Some stores, you may know, still check the signature on the back of your credit card? I can assure that it is entirely a formality, even at the few places that do still bother, but most people still know to sign theirs.
Or — or — and this is where it gets fun — to write “See I.D.” on the back instead.
The idea here is that someone who steals your credit card won’t be able to use it, this way, since they’ll be asked for an ID they don’t have rather than scrawling something similar to your signature, which is mostly a joke since, as I said, most places don’t even check and the ones that do are happy to accept “Oh, sorry, I left my ID at home, but I swear it’s me!” as legal identification. But some people do it. And some bankers or credit-card-issuers still tell people to do it.
I know that in some cases it is people being told to do it and not people choosing to out of some vaguely conscious sense of identity security. I know this because every once in a while we get a card that, in place of a signature, has the neatly-printed acronym “C.I.D.”
This is not a thing. There is no credit card signature related thing called a “C.I.D.,” apart from the acronym sometimes being used interchangeably with “CVV2,” which is the little security code printed on the back. The only reason to write it on your card is if you heard someone authoritative-seeming tell you to write “See I.D.” and you thought they meant “C.I.D.” and didn’t think to ask what it meant.
I’m always a little boggled by people with “C.I.D.” cards. But that’s life for you, and that’s homophones too! Which, speaking of, came up in yesterday’s post too, when I found that famous picture from The Graduate and a caption describing it as “Anne Bancroft stalking” on the part of Dustin Hoffman.
Get it? He's stalking her stocking? Ah well.
So that’s today’s Fun with Homophones, Real-Life Edition. Share your own favorites (or just your stories of bone-headed consumers!) in the comments and we’ll see you tomorrow…