Unnecessary Digits
"Are the people at Visa crazy?"

Okay, I've been payling the bills for my parents since I turned eleven. I couldn't stand the sight of Dad struggling with the calculator, making his math-is-hard face and probably getting the electricity cut off. Now I do the math and they just sign the checks (and lick the stamps, which I HATE the taste of).

It's a good arrangement, except that certain things drive me crazy. Like my mom's Visa card, for example. Her account number has 16 digits in it. This is a crime against numbers.

What's wrong with 16 digits? Okay, let's do that math. Sixteen digits implies that Visa expects to have at least 1,000,000,000,000,000 separate accounts some day. Yeah, nice try. If there's six billion people on Earth, that's 166,666 Visa cards for every woman, man, and ankle-biting rugrat.

So what are all those numbers for? Do they think that one day we'll all live in houses built out of thousands of Visa cards, covered with little magnetic-striped plastic shingles, each with its own distinct account number?

Or maybe they're planning ahead for some sort of massive population increase. Gee, that's forward thinking of them. But my ancient World Book Encyclopedia claims that there's only 57 million square miles of land on the planet. So 1,000,000,000,000,000 people would each wind up with about 1.6 square feet. Grow me some crops on that ponderosa!

I mean, if the nice people at Visa can't do math, that's fine--join the crowd. But maybe they should be in some other business BESIDES LENDING MONEY. It's like the clock on the Bixby Savings and Loan that's been twenty-two minutes fast for the last three years. My parents stick all their money in that place, trusting the nice people there to keep track of thousands of accounts and calculate compound interest and not just give it all away to some stranger by accident, and those guys don't even know how to SET A CLOCK?

Can people at least act like they're trying?