How closely do you read the message on your terminal when doing a debit/credit card transaction? Mukesh Patel, who runs Jai Shree Krishna in South London’s Forest Hill, has a 3R terminal which used to spit up the message ‘Verified by PIN’ and if it wasn’t approved it would say ‘Declined’. Nice and clear. But, without warning, First Data – which processes the transactions – changed it to ‘Invalid card. Insufficient funds’.

“All you look for is Verified by PIN and whether it is declined or not,” says Mukesh.

When Mukesh did his reckoning up he saw that three transactions had gone through that shouldn’t have, losing him £31. He didn’t take it lying down. Initially, First Data point refused to compensate him. “And had no comment as to why the system was changed and why agents were not informed in advance.”

Mukesh then, as he puts it, “requested to escalate the complaint higher”. Good move. First Data has agreed to refund him.

Trouble is, nerds and geeks write these electronic messages. I remember when the supers first went online. Three of us on C-Store did a digital shop; I got Sainsbury’s. After registration the first message said: “Please wait while we load your applet.”

What’s that I wondered? Little apples? It is, in fact, an app(lication) that performs one specific task that runs within the scope of a dedicated widget engine or a larger program. Talk about enhanced shopping experience.