Knuckle Crunchers

April 3, 2008

I just had my first experience with the knuckle crunchers at the bookstore. And this joyous opportunity (to experience a very long and drawn out process with every single customer who approached our counter) came when I was deliriously tired.

Shortly before I went to bed last night, a friend of mine told me some potential bad news concerning a mutual friend of ours. I was stirred up to talk to God concerning the negative report that may come later and to ask Him to act on behalf of the ones He loves… to do what is in His heart.

Well, I went to sleep anyway (because sleep is important). But it didn’t last for very long.

I may have woken up because I wasn’t feeling very well. In any case, I woke up. But I couldn’t get back to sleep because I couldn’t stop thinking about my friend. I just lay there praying… and praying… and praying… and thinking about who God is and what He loves… and praying.

I have a relatively full day ahead of me and I knew that my present sleeplessness would keep me from making it into work at 3. So I decided to just go and get some things done at the store while I was going to be awake anyway.

And that’s where the knuckle crunchers enter the scene.

I got a few things done, and then I wandered aimlessly by the prayer room for about 5-10 minutes. And then I came back to the office and was very busy trying very hard to be mentally present… when Nadine came in to tell me that the system was down.

The IT office was closed. No one in sight. And we weren’t having much luck reaching them on the phone. The rest of the managers (except for Linda, who was on her way out) were down doing inventory for FMG. I was just here because I couldn’t sleep.  (And I knew I was too out of it to try to drive and then count things.)

So out came the knuckle crunchers… the clunky little gadgets we use to record credit card information so that we can still make credit card sales when we can’t open up our POS system. (Actually, to be completely accurate… out came the knucle cruncher. I could only find one. Fortunately, the transactions take so incredibly long that it really isn’t difficult to share this piece of wondrous technology.)

I’d never used a knuckle cruncher before (praise the Lord). Not once. But I, in my great expertise, taught the cashiers how to use it and then wandered out to help while we waited.

At one point, I looked at the carbon copy sheets and thought to myself, “Hmm…  I wonder what we would do if we had a transaction with more items than there are spaces on that sheet.” Yeah… that ended up being my transaction. (I came up with a solution, but I may think of something far more logical after my next full night of sleep.)

David came by and left his phone for me while he went to lunch. (Mine is still sitting by my bed, I think. You don’t always think of these things when you should be sleeping.) Eventually, IT called… they had me do something over the phone… and then a couple of their guys came… and left… and returned. (I know. I am giving a thrilling narrative right now.) And, at last, the misery ended.

It took me a while to get the transactions entered in, once the system was back up. That’s not because there were many transactions or they were super complicated. I was just moving slow… because my brain is a lump of putty right now. And it is very difficult to make a lump of putty think.

And now my lump of putty and I are going to stop rambling on my blog… and we are going to attempt to get a little bit of sleep before I have to get up again… in about an hour and a half.



  1. Next time just write the items on a legal pad, crunch the card and staple the carbon to it. The customer doesn’t need a copy of the items because when you enter the transaction you have to do it with CRM anyway so if they need to return something the cashier can just look it up in their history.

    I had to do this a time or 12. There was once an instance like this where Phil in front of a long line of impatient customers cursed, it was amazing.

  2. Oh, friend. Welcome to the miserable fraternity of knuckle crunching. I will forever be scarred by the system crash at onething that required us to ring up literally thousands of people on those things. And of being one of only two or three of the cashiers who actually knew how to use them and therefore had to take on all credit card transactions.

    God bless you.

  3. where i work we call a ‘knuckle cruncher’ the ‘click-clack machine’

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