Stop, think and wonder: Of parcels and signatures
Have you ever had that sudden sensation of "why am I doing this?" sneaking up on you? You know, that kind of feeling where some common practice, you were so accustomed to in your daily routine that you never questioned it, all of a sudden seems to be totally absurd and pointless to do? Like, for example, washing your hands after using the toilet, closing the faucet and realizing that you opened it with supposedly dirty hands and now are touching it with supposedly clean hands, potentially picking up again what you deposited there in the first place?
Today, a parcel arrived. Average sized, light weighted, neutrally wrapped and, to lower some expectation, not containing any adult content at all. In other words: completely unremarkable in every way and not worth wasting a line about it, if it hadn't been accompanied by a procedure. Not an unusual or unexpected one, no. It was, in fact the very same procedure that accompanied every parcel I ever received. Yet, though not being different in it's course of action in any way, it seemed odd this time.
Before being given the package, I had to sign for it. The mailman, a female member of our species, to be precise, handed me this hateful electronic tracking gadget, belonging to this sorry excuse for a pen, in order for me to scrawl my signature on the device's display.
Like probably a dozen other people before me today, I slowly started to draw the letters of my name, watching in horror as the display began to place pixels somewhere in the vicinity of where the "pen's" tip had been a moment ago, making every character a pain to write. The result, unsurprisingly, was not convincing. Back in elementary school we had grades on handwriting and had this little piece of art had to be graded, it would have scored a solid F.
The thing about signatures is, that they are distinct. Not as distinct as fingerprints perhaps and also easier to counterfeit, but still characteristic enough for you to receipt for what you are given.
Of course, the whole purpose of having to sign for something is so, that Person A can give the mentioned something to Person B and on the occasion that Person B looses it and wants it to be replaced on Person A's expense, by claiming to never have gotten it in the first place, Person A can shove the receipt in Person B's face, yelling "is this your signature or not?!", thus making Person B trot away in shame and saving a lot of money.
The scrawling on the screen did not look anything like my signature. Especially not since I gave up on even trying to write legible after the first 3 letters. The mailman, still female, still in a hurry, did not check, whether or not the artwork bore any resembling to the name on the name plate and if someone ever wanted to yell at me, whether or not it was my signature on the receipt, he might as well not bother.
I think, the next time, I get a parcel, I might just simply sign as "Groucho Marx", throw it away and claim, that it never arrived. Just to see what explanation they come up with for requiring a procedure, which does not seem to fulfill it's intended purpose, yet they felt strongly enough about to invest some serious money, so their tracking equipment can support it in a non-functional way.
Really, what is the point of this nonsense?
Update: Yes, I am aware, that the signature also serves as a confirmation of delivery for tracking purposes. I am also aware, that parcels get delivered to organizations, where they may get lost in the internal mail system, so it is a nice feature to know, who accepted the consignment. All nice and dandy, but if it's just the name you are after, why not simply type it on a keyboard instead of hoping for people to scribble legible? It can even be filled in as a default value of a textfield, that only needs confirmation to shave off some extra seconds.