I am not downloading an app to buy a candy bar.

The email to all employees seemed so darn happy: "Our newly-remodeled snack-room is now open! Stop by on your break!" So far so good, and then the next sentence: "A vendor rep is on-site to explain about downloading the app and setting up an account."

Confused but curious, I waited for the crowds to dwindle, and then went downstairs to our newly-remodeled snack-room. Bright colors. New machines. Bigger selection. And as promised, a vendor rep was eager to explain everything to me.

First, you can no longer get into the snack-room just by opening the door; now you need to swipe your employee badge. Inside, you're on surveillance camera, but I'm unsure who's watching the video -- my employer, or the vending machine company. Once you've set up an account and transferred some funds from your bank account, you make purchases with the app on your smart phone.

A few of my company's management types were in the room, admiring the selection of candies and cookies, sodas and sandwiches, as this guy gave me the pitch. With bigwigs beside me, I probably shouldn’t have chuckled, but chuckle I did. "Do these machines take … you know, money?," I asked.

"Actually, no," said the chipper vendor rep. "Nothing in this room accepts coins or dollar bills; only swipes and thumbprints." From his proud tone of voice, I think I was supposed to be impressed.

"So lemme get this straight. If I want a sack of potato chips, and I only have money, I'm out of luck?"

"No problem," he said cheerfully. "If you've downloaded the app, you can purchase anything in the room with your thumbprint. And if you haven't yet downloaded the app, our machines will still accept debit or credit cards."

Oblivious to the look on my face, Mr Vendor Rep rambled on about how easy the app is, and how to connect your bank account to the app, and how to register your thumbprint for the quickest, most convenient purchases. "So," he said with a smile, "are you ready to download the app?"

"Actually, no. I am not downloading an app to buy a candy bar," I said. And then I wandered out of the room and back to my desk, sort of shell-shocked.

I have a debit card, because I generally trust the credit union to keep my finances confidential, so maybe I'll buy something in the new snack-room someday ... but not someday soon. And I'm never connecting my bank info to some app from some company I've never heard of, the no-name outfit that stocks Snickers and Slim Jims in the snack-room at work.

Seems I'm the only person among our 260-odd employees who preferred the old snack-room, where machines traded quarters and dollar bills for candy and Coke. But that's just me, wacky old Doug Holland. Everyone else at work has downloaded the app and registered their thumbprints.



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