While the mousetrap seems absurdly impractical and amusing, there are hidden parts of our economy and everyday business systems that are no less complex.
One such area is credit card processing, an industry which employs Rube Goldberg-like machinery to the detriment of all of you that accept credit cards. While the issuance of credit cards to us as consumers is highly regulated (to protect us), the processing of credit cards to get you paid as a merchant is not.
As shown in the chart below, as many as 3-8 different parties “touch” a credit card transaction from the time you swipe until the time the consumer pays the bill. Each party has their hand in the till and gets a piece of the transaction. It’s a lot of money, as you can imagine.