Can I Scan Your Face?

I was buying some fruit the other day, and as I got my Alipay barcode ready, the cashier—a young boy no older than 12—turned to me and asked, “Can I scan your face?”

I stared at him in confusion.

“You don’t need your barcode,” he continued. “Just look in the camera right here.”

I was both intrigued and mortified. This felt like an episode of Black Mirror. I put my face up to the black lens.

“Error: This face is not linked to a valid Chinese ID,” the screen read.

“Huh,” the young cashier replied. “I guess it doesn’t work on your face.”

I scanned my barcode instead.

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