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I'm TIME's technology columnist. I have no cash or cards--just my phone.
The gadget emporium is a Google SingleTap merchant, meaning you can apply special offers as you pay with Google Wallet. Neat--but buying $16 worth of blank DVDs required two taps of my phone.
I crave an Orange Appeal smoothie. Google Wallet app crashes. Cashier can't figure out how to ring up order. Frantic fumbling, then success.
I try to pay for a plastic chair using Google Wallet. But the cashier's NFC reader is busted, and he doesn't seem to care.
THE CHAI CART
The counterman at this street stand tells me Pay with Square is a hit with customers. (His tip jar still takes cash.)
My $16.35 fill-up with Google Wallet goes smoothly enough once I figure out I have to go inside. Paying at the pump isn't an option.
Square shows merchants my name and photo when I pay.
At a posh liquor store, I pay with Square. My phone stays in my pocket, and the receipt is delivered to it wirelessly--I barely even interact with the proprietor. It's about as painless as purchasing gets.
Square's app says this funky hi-fi shop/coffee joint is a wine bar; turns out it doesn't even have a liquor license.
No hot dog for me! At a San Francisco Giants game, I can't get Google Wallet to work. Reduced to begging wife for beer.