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Monday, November 22

The old and the new

The "old" is the Kenan Center Holiday Gift Show which I do whenever they let me and is usually one of my better shows of the year. I've blogged about it before, but I'll risk boring the 4 people who read this blog with some pertinent details.

The event is held on an arts campus which is anchored by a beautiful Victorian mansion. They decorate the beshootsis out of the place so it all looks like something out of Dickens. Christmas Carols fill the air. The mansion has artists in all the rooms, from the front parlor to the ladies parlor to the kitchen. Upstairs, the bedrooms host more. It is very festive. I've been in that location a couple of times, but I prefer the Education Building which is just down the path and has lots more breathing room. Across from our building was yet another, the Theater and Greenhouse. It is all just too precious for words.

This was the 30th anniversary of the show. Any event with that kind of tradition is sure to bring in a nice crowd of shoppers. And it did. Of course, getting those shoppers to actually pull out money and buy stuff can be a challenge these days, but enough of them did to make my weekend a good one. Phew!

Now, the "new" is very cool. I had heard of a device for taking credit card payments that was too great to believe. A little "doggle" the size of a quarter that plugs into your iPhone's earbud jack. You swipe the card through it. It authorizes the sale, the customer signs on the face of the phone using a fingertip. Done.

I mean. Come. On!

So, of course, I ordered one. It was free, the discount rate per sale is less than what I was paying. I read everything I could about it and it seemed to be legit and the company was solving problems quickly if they appeared. It is supported through Apple and I bet Steve Jobs doesn't let anything pop up on iTunes or work on his phones without vetting it to the max first. I couldn't wait to try it. I wondered how the customers would react to it. What would I do if they sniffed at the idea of transmitting this data over a phone line. (Never mind that it's done every day. Usually we don't see how these things are done. You hand over your credit card and the server walks off with it. You expect that they are charging your soup/ salad/breadstick lunch but they just as easily be booking passage on a cruise ship to the Aleutians.)

Well, the gizmo worked great. The customers loved it. Signing with a fingertip seemed to be the cherry on top for many of them. More than one person chirped "There's an app for that!" Each time I pretended that was the first time I heard it.

So, I went to an old familiar place where I proceeded to leap headfirst into the future, technologically speaking.

Cutting edge, that's me.

(You can see the doggle at

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