Pretty soon Hudson Valley retailers will stop asking shoppers to participate in one of the most annoying and time-consuming procedures at checkout.

It's actually unnecessary, but stores still demand that customers do it. In fact, it's become a running joke among companies who, for whatever reason, have continued this annoying practice even though it's completely meaningless. Of course, I'm talking about signing that electronic pad when paying with a credit card.

While juggling packages and trying to make that slippery pen stay on the dotted line you've probably wound up scribbling something that looks nothing like your actual signature. If you're like me, you've wondered if anyone cares. Well, they don't. In fact, I take my son grocery shopping with me and, if he's good during the trip, I allow him to draw a picture on the signature pad as a reward. I have never been declined a purchase because of a stormtrooper sketch on the signature pad.

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What's even more maddening is when retailers demand your signature after paying with your phone. Apple Pay is the most secure way to use your credit card. Not only do you need a thumbprint, but your card number is encrypted to the point that not even the retailer can find out your number. But still, stores make you scribble an illegible signature that they could never verify as yours anyway.

According to the New York Times, American Express, Visa, Mastercard and Discover have finally conceded that this whole charade is stupid, and will no longer require a signature for credit card transactions by the end of this month. Walmart has already said that they don't even store the data and will be eliminating the practice at their stores soon. Target is also expected to rip out those signature pads in the near future.

Expect to see less and less of these signature pads in the Hudson Valley as more stores thankfully eliminate this meaningless practice. Until then, feel free to doodle whatever you want on those pads, no one is even looking at them.