Your Credit at a Glance (Mar, 1922)

Looking at an operation like this you can really understand why people were so afraid of computers stealing everyone’s job. Most of those women could be replaced by one computer and a few terminals.

Your Credit at a Glance

Do you know just what happens when you “charge” a purchase in a large department store? You see the sales clerk write your name and address, with the amount of the purchase, on a charge slip, then pack the slip into a cylindrical box and start it on its way through a pneumatic tube to some unknown destination. A minute later the slip returns by the same route, approved or otherwise, to the sales clerk.

What happens in the interval? If you look behind the scenes in the credit department of the store, you will see long rows of revolving card index files. Each file contains hundreds of names of customers, with an exact, up-to-the-minute record of each customer’s credit. Somewhere among the thousands of names is yours; yet the system of indexing has been so perfected that it takes only a moment for a clerk to locate your name, verify the fact that you have a charge account and determine whether your credit is good for the amount of your purchase. If you have lagged in the payment of your bills, that fact is so recorded that the clerk can read the story at a glance.

2 comments
  1. Rick Auricchio says: February 24, 200812:18 pm

    Remember when the credit-card companies published books of cancelled credit cards? They were like small phone books. A store clerk would look up your credit card number in the book. If the number was there, your card was denied.

  2. Anne says: April 8, 20087:17 am

    Wow, that’s kind of nifty.

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