Credit Card Terminal Burning Video: Behind the Scenes!

wile-e-coyoteEvery once in awhile I have those days where I feel like I should have Looney Tunes music playing in the background for me.  I had one of those days this week.  In fact, since the week isn’t over yet, why NOT go ahead and share my hilarity that has very little to do with credit card processing!  Actually, if as a reader, you only read my blog posts because you know me and have little interest in payment processing, you might actually enjoy this story.

Anyway, I’m very passionate about the merchant services industry and servicing my customers.  As you can see, I’ve started blog posting to share with others what I know about the payment services industry.  I was a very reluctant writer at first, but knew it was an important investment in my customers and others.  In addition to educating and informing, I’m also trying to add some entertainment to a rather dry industry.  I’m on a serious learning curve, but I’m beginning to figure out that I can add my own photos and even videos to liven things up.

So Tuesday morning while in the shower, I’m thinking of my blog post that I’m in the midst of writing.  And out of the blue it hits me!  “What that post needs is a burning credit card machine!”  So I said out loud, “Today I’m going to torch a credit card terminal and make a video!”  To which from somewhere in the house I heard my wife reply, “Great idea, can I help?”  Or it might have been “You’re going to burn a building down!”  Or most likely it was the standard, “Shut up, you’ll wake up the baby!”  It was hard to tell what it was with soap in my ears.  But regardless, I was grinning and the wheels were turning.  I had the video all planned out perfectly in my head before I had even finished drying my hair!  I was floating on air, picturing myself as the next Scorcese!  In fact, I was so confident that I was a natural that I didn’t even need to write a script or even inform the other participants of their role.  I mean, how hard could this be?

I really thought this would be simple and done in 15 minutes.  How wrong was I!  It took me 15 minutes just to find an old terminal that I didn’t mind burning.  I didn’t realize it would be that hard.  I’ve faced many terminals with issues over the years and I’ve often dreamed of torturing the devices as payback, so my enthusiasm wasn’t quelled.  I finally settled upon an old, used Verifone Tranz 330 reader that was probably 20 years old.

A burning building wasn’t the type of video I was after so I decided to utilize the fire pit in my backyard for the event.  Going through the garage I quickly located lighter fluid, a lighter and my wife’s favorite wrought iron plant stand to display the flaming terminal on.  As an afterthought, I also grabbed the jacket out of my closet that looked the most fire retardant and had the garden hose nearby ready to go.  Safety first, right?

Now, for the most difficult part, recruiting my wife to video tape my masterpiece!  I don’t understand why she couldn’t see my brilliance at work with this.  After some explaining of my vision, and assurances that there wasn’t going to be a huge explosion, I managed to get her to reluctantly come outside with the Iphone to record with.  Along the way, I’m certain I saw her entering 911 on the speed dial as well, but that did little to waiver my confidence.

I had a vision of how the shoot should go and I explained to my wife, Krista that I was going to say something witty and attention getting, followed by me dousing the terminal with lighter fluid and then an unscripted and hilarious call to my tech support department to show off their efficiency regardless of circumstances.  A few laughs later I would notice the issue with the terminal was that it wasn’t plugged in.  Problem solved.  Fade to black.

However, this fantasy of my perfect video only existed in my dreams.  I forgot how tongue tied I get in front of any camera.  I also didn’t foresee that these dang near indestructible Tranz 330’s from a different generation WILL NOT BURN!


After many failed attempts, I finally doused plywood and cardboard in gasoline and set the terminal on top of that!

So, camera rolling, confident there would be fire, I called my tech support team, intending to be like an anonymous caller to showcase their speed and efficiency.  Well of course I got right ahold of tech support as Signature never keeps anyone waiting on hold.  Even before the tech agent Alberto answered the phone with a “Hello Robert, how can I help you” a gust of wind came and blew out the flame.  I tried to smile for the camera as we were now completely off of my mental script.  First, he wasn’t supposed to know it was me and second, the big fire was part of my story!!!  I stuttered and stammered something about a T330 not working, trying to salvage my video.  He informed me that those are no longer compliant or workable anyway, since he didn’t know I was taping this on a video demo. He was just so darned efficient!  I ended that call quickly by saying it appears it’s not plugged in, thanks!  Of course it’s true it wasn’t plugged in and I’m certain at that point, even after several attempts to put it out of its misery, the thing still would have powered up!  The credit card machine was definitely winning this battle!


credit card terminal to burnFinally out of desperation, I generously doused nearly a gallon of gasoline all over the terminal, plywood, my wife’s plant stand and the fire pit.  Despite my wife’s protests, through gritted teeth I commanded her to record as I gripped the lighter.  This was no longer a funny video to inform about the virtues of Signature’s tech support.  This was all about one man’s mission to annihilate a stubborn, obsolete piece of machinery!  And alas, I emerged victorious!  It was with great glee that I beheld the whole ensemble go up in glorious flames!  I even had a few fitting lines that managed to come tumbling out of my mouth.  Five seconds later, my wife had enough.  She flipped me the camera and demanded me to, “Put that thing out!”  before she trotted off.

burning terminalI wish I could say I did as instructed, but I continued to bask in the flames of the melting gadget for long minutes, just enjoying the victory.  I was almost mesmerized until the wind shifted and I choked on toxic fumes.

Was this a waste of perfectly great day that I could have been productive with?   Absolutely!  But did I get my video?  And was it fun?  Heck yes!  And the best part is, while I’m in my back yard playing with fire, I’ve got the best support team in the world with Signature, taking care of my clients for me!  Life is good!




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  1. Great job, Robert. What a great way to hold your reader’s interest.


  1. […] Occasionally, you’ll still see some of the T330 devices, but I’m hunting them down to hurry their extinction!  My role in those early days was to help existing central Illinois businesses lower their […]

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