Customers Went Overboard Wiping Down the Credit Card Readers

Man in a hazmat suit spraying down credit card reader with chemicals
Artwork by Anthony Faust
Man in a hazmat suit spraying down credit card reader with chemicals

This was a sign written on piece of paper, taped to the bottom of credit card reader, at a popular local grocery store:

Attention Customers:

Please stop spraying our credit card readers with disinfectant spray. Several machines have had to be replaced. Your safety is our priority--we clean all of our machines regularly.


During the beginning of the pandemic, there was a widespread belief that the virus could survive on surfaces for extended periods of time, including credit card readers. As a result, people started excessively spraying down credit card readers with disinfectants or cleaning agents, thinking this act would prevent them from catching the virus.

However, it was later found that the risk of transmission through surfaces is quite low, if not altogether impossible. This was especially true if people practiced good hygiene by washing their hands regularly and avoiding touching their face. The primary mode of transmission for COVID-19 was through respiratory droplets that was released when an infected person talked, coughed, or sneezed.

Still, this did not stop the emboldened few from setting their own sanitization protocols for the store or the gas pump keypads. Shoppers could be seen wiping down credit card readers with Lysol wipes, spraying them with bottles of disinfectants, and even pouring hand sanitizer directly onto the keypad.

Excessive cleaning of credit card readers damaged the machines and made them less effective or even unusable. Plus, these people were overlooking the most easy and controllable sanitization, which they could do on their own: wash your hands. It was the one thing experts said repeatedly from the beginning, and the best strategy for staying safe.

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About the Author

My life as a husband and father transformed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sent home from work in March 2020, I've yet to return to the office. Adapting to the new pandemic world proved challenging for us all.

However, we managed to find silver linings. Drive-by birthdays brought joy to my kids' friends. I'll never forget stumbling upon a heartfelt hand-painted rock during my jog, reminding us that we're all in this together. Regular Zoom happy hours with close friends created cherished memories.

While quality time with my family was a blessing, we also faced hurdles. Assisting my youngest daughter with frustrating math homework on a poorly designed iPad app tested our patience. Both girls struggled with wearing masks during sports and school.

Sadly, witnessing COVID-19 being politicized and witnessing the closure of small businesses while the wealthy thrived was disheartening.

I wrote this book to document our experiences, learning from them and striving for better decisions in the future. Join me on this rewarding journey of resilience and growth.

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