Accipiomancy

Accipiomancy is a word I coined for the act of divination using receipts (from the latin accipio "receipt" and manteia "divination"). Informally, it may also be referred to as Chi-Ching divination, named after the sound made by old-fashioned cash registers.

Québec restaurants are required by law to print a receipt for all transactions, and to offer it to all clients. All cash registers must run the app that performs an encrypted hash on all items (date, time, location, what you bought) and performs a lookup into a wide selection of Unicode pages and a separate line is put out with 12 Unicode symbols at the bottom of the receipt. The workings of the app are a state secret. The purpose is to prevent tax fraud. It is explained in great detail here. The Unicode glyphs are simply a way to make the encrypted checksum more easily readable by a human auditor than 48 hexadecimal digits.

Take a look at the example below from my last trip to Québec City:

receipt1

To perform the divination, you just ask yourself a question, and go buy a coffee or something at McDonalds or wherever while you are thinking about your question. Then you take a look at the symbols at the bottom, and use them to inspire something meaningful.

If you look closely, you might notice that this receipt actually has a repetition of a set of 6 symbols. This is quite rare. I would guess that it happens one time out of every 144 receipts. This seems about right based strictly on how often I can recall seeing it, and 144 is a power of 12. When I see the symbols thus repeated, I assume that my divination will be especially auspicious.