Sing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice before paying

By James Sinclair | Feb 22, 2015


Sir, Lisa Pollack worries that each new means of payment is more abstract, so we may spend more (“Contactless card junkies tap their way to addiction”, Notebook, February 18). Contactless payment does indeed give us even less pause for thought than a card swipe. May I suggest the method my mother taught me to ensure I paused long enough when washing my hands? Sing “Happy Birthday” twice before each contactless payment. That would almost certainly help Ms Pollack restrain her spending — she might even make new friends in doing so.

For better or worse, this problem is not yet mine. I live in America which, as Ms Pollack observes, is in the payment dark ages. When I travel to Europe, store assistants scoff at my “swipe card”, if they accept it at all. However, when contactless payment finally becomes more widespread here, I will be following my own advice. After all, singing as I enter the New York subway would barely count as unusual behaviour — the most likely reaction would be that others join in.

James H Sinclair

New York, NY, US

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