A team of scientists stunned the world this week with the surprise discovery of a North American woman who still uses checks for daily transactions.
“We weren’t necessarily looking for it,” said Darryl Fender, senior anthropologist and chief investigator on this project. Fender and his team had been in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, searching for elusive, fabled individuals who still pay for recurring bills with paper checks instead of easier, more convenient method of online payments. “We were just renting a DVD from Redbox when we spotted a woman paying for groceries with an honest-to-god check.”
“It took my breath away,” said Cheryl DuBuque, an associate researcher. “We thought if we were lucky, we might find two or three people who might admit to still using checks in the privacy of their own homes. But this—it was almost like she was throwing it in our faces just to make a point.”
According to observational notes, the woman, Greta Plimstad, 61, deliberately took out her checkbook to pay for $9.53 worth of groceries, consisting of a bunch of bananas, a four-pack of toilet paper, a loaf of bread, and a Chapstick.
“It was astonishing,” said Fender, describing how the woman not only slowly and carefully wrote out her check while three people jostled restlessly behind her—but then pulled out her ledger and proceeded to balance her checkbook while everybody waited.
Altogether, the woman’s single transaction took five minutes and 43 seconds.
“It felt like an eternity,” said local resident Jerry Feingert, who had been waiting in line to buy one packet of candles for his five-year-old daughter’s birthday. “I wouldn’t be surprised if my daughter turned eight by the time I get home.”
Researchers were thrilled to have witnessed such a public, blatant episode of check-writing in the wild.
“It’s just so beyond anything we could have hoped for,” said Fender. “So while the whole thing was intensely inconvenient and annoying, we’re not complaining.”
“Yes we are,” said DuBuque, quickly adding, “maybe just a little.”