A few months ago I wrote a post about the growing use of smart phones, iPads, and mobile credit card payment systems - from taxis to gluten-free doughnut vendors. This week I had a reality check and it took place about a hundred yards from the location of my first post. Saturday I walked toward San Francisco's Ferry Building and stopped at Justin Herman Plaza to checkout the street vendors. Luckily the vendor I'd been looking for had returned and these lovely necklaces are my reward for the walk. It was also rewarding in that our discussion was a reminder to me of the range of technology interest and understanding, even in tech savvy San Francisco.

As I was preparing to open my negotiations, I mentioned that I had a credit card or an ATM card. Turns out the only payment option at this booth was cash - no credit card reader. When I got back from the ATM machine and finished my transaction I asked they'd thought about "one of those credit card readers that hooks up to your phone." The response was a good reminder:

Oh, we're really not computer people. I know there is Square [and Intuit's GoPayment], but we just have a regular cell phone.

The cost of the smartphone was part of the issue, but it was also that there "aren't enough teenagers around" [to help with setup and maintance]. She beat me to my suggestion -- and made me realize how plugged-in she and her husband are to their personal people, technology, and organizational options.

Our conversation was a reminder that being plugged-in is not about being "plugged-in" to every technology around. It's about making effective choices: being plugged-in -- understanding -- your people, technology, and organization such that you know when and how to say yes and no to the setups that work best for you in a given situation.

As always, I'm looking for examples of people making good and bad choices in how they design their work from the foundations of people, technology, and organizational practice. As this post shows, all industries and outcomes are open game. ...and look for Crocheted Wire Jewelry on Saturdays and some Tuesdays in Justin Herman Plaza. Disclosure: The vendors don't know I wrote this post and I did pay the full list price.