Out of paper 2009/01/13
Last night at the laundromat it took me three attempts to add money to my stored-value card because I, like everyone else, don't read the messages in modal dialogs. I know that ATMs, gas pumps, laundromats and other credit card readers ask if you’d like a receipt before they complete the transaction. Sometimes, though, they tell you they can’t print a receipt and ask for your permission to continue. The problem is that the options available are the same in both cases: “yes” or “no.” It looks like this:
Would you like a receipt? YES NO
Unable to print receipt. Continue? YES NO
Because no one reads the actual prompt, the options need to indicate that something unexpected is going on. This is doubly true when the machine is so low that I can’t even see the top line of the display. The special case of the printer being out of paper should read:
Unable to print receipt. OK CANCEL
By breaking the expected pattern of put in my card, press “no”, select $20 and wait, I can do the right thing the first time and avoid being turned away by the washing machine.