You might think this column is about Walmart's multiple entries into retail healthcare, but you'd think wrong. This column isn't about getting healthier and therefore living longer. It's about how Walmart is leading a retail industry-wide movement to save your precious time.
As widely reported earlier today in BusinessInsider, all four major credit cards have either decided or announced that they will no longer require your signature when you use a credit card. The reason is simple: electronic payments and chip cards have made signatures less necessary and useful as security checks.
The credit card companies, however, are only half of the equation. For checkout lane signatures to become a thing of the past, retail stores that accept credit cards must follow suit, which they've been reluctant to do since the burden of credit card fraud falls squarely on their shoulders.
However, it now appears that Walmart, Target and other large retailers are finally going signature-less, probably because they're increasingly competing with online sales which don't require signatures. Plus, signatures=slow checkout lines=lower customer satisfaction=more checkers=higher personnel costs=less profit.
With that in mind, let's do some back of the envelope calculations. Let's say the average person uses a credit card for 70 years (age 14 to 84) and on average about twice a day and that each signature, including the wait for processing time, button pushing, etc., takes an average of 20 seconds. Do the math, and that comes out to roughly 36 (8 hour) workdays--more than a month!--over your lifetime that you won't spend signing your name.
What you do with that month is up to you and I could probably come up with a bunch of suggestions of the "go on an extra vacation" ilk. However, since the time you save won't be in a block but granted to you in dribs and drabs, I have another suggestion.
Here it is: every time you buy something at a retail store spend 20 seconds--before you walk outside--thinking about everything in your life for which you can be grateful. Start with the fact that you were just able to buy something--a privilege that's far from universal.
I guarantee you that any time you spend experiencing gratitude not only won't be time-wasting; it will actively improve your life and well-being, and therefore your health.
So, wow, despite what I wrote when I started writing it, this column turned out to be about getting healthier and therefore living longer. Honestly and truly I had no idea I'd end up here when I started it.