Can’t We Get An EZ-Pass For Restaurants?

Tomasky is tired of waiting for his check:

Who among my fellow Americans enjoys this ritual? You ask for the check. The waiter walks away. He brings it. He walks away again. You put your card in the little sleeve. You wait. The waiter picks it up. He walks away again. Eventually, after reciting the specialsat one table and opening a bottle of wine at another, he returns. And finally, 20 minutes after you were ready to leave, the restaurant is ready for you to leave.

Within those 20 minutes is contained not just the customer’s inconvenience, but a national crisis and disgrace. America suffers from a terrifying restaurant technology gap. Throughout much of the world, this tedious ritual has been dispensed with. At tables from London to Istanbul, from Casablanca to French Polynesia, when the diner is ready to leave, the waiter reaches for her or his handheld device, runs the credit card, hands over the receipt, and that’s it. Gone in 60 seconds.

In a follow-up, he continues to kvetch:

My little essay was a plea for the industry to introduce the hand-held credit-card machine that we find…well, basically everywhere in the world except America.

I know many of you think you know the reason, that it has to do with the difference between US and European credit cards, that chip business, which prevents fraud. But that’s bullshit. … The chip business is just an excuse. The fact is that restaurants don’t want to invest in the technology, and they don’t because Americans aren’t clamoring for it. I guess because people at the Cheesecake Factory just like to sit there and sit there after consuming those 5,000-calorie meals. The NRA (not that NRA–the National Restaurant Association!) has polled the question and found out that 52 percent of Americans would avail themselves of table-side check-out. Again, these 48 percent just confuse me to no end. Maybe now that Americans have embraced gay marriage, we can move on to restaurant efficiency.