I’ve been Squared


So several months ago I posted a product demo of Square. This is one of those ingenious products/services that make you want to find a reason to use it and the first day I could order a card reader, I did. (I registered in April.) That was mid-May and I received my card reader September 1st. (My wife snickered when I received the package; “It took so long to get here I bet it doesn’t work.”

Ha Ha! No way. The issue with getting the card readers out had simply been one of demand. And yes the demand was tremendous as evidenced by very very pissed off fans. Pissed by the fact that they hadn’t received their readers. (It’s important to remember that the card reader is a non-essential part of Square. It just makes the transaction much cooler. You can easily enter the credit card number manually.)

So I get my card reader and unpack it (video above). I plug the bad boy in. My iPhone recognizes the device. I create a $1.00 transaction and select the pay/card option. I then swipe the card and  . . . nada. I try again. Nothing. Zilch. After several swipes I realize, it isn’t me. It simply isn’t working. (An image of my wife laughing hysterically rolled around my mind for several seconds. Cackling at the irony!)

I do the responsible thing and contact customer support. I quickly get a response from someone at Square notifying me that this is a known issue. (Not that that makes it any better. Just means that you’re not the first person to find it.) They then tell me to go here to solve the issue. For those of you that don’t want to follow the link, the solution to the problem is to place a piece of paper between the phone and the card reader to prevent the metal on metal connection. You can also use nail polish (video below). They say put a small piece of paper between the iPhone 4’s antenna and the reader and that should take care of the issue until they come up with a long-term solution.

I did that and it still doesn’t work.

Now . . . I’m not bitter. As a matter of fact I’m quite optimistic. This is what I get for being an early adopter. Especially when the one of the founding members of Twitter is involved. Twitter managed to build a rabid fan base while their service was crashing weekly. This was one of their defining characteristics and sometimes this failure is the secret sauce for brands.

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