Back in the 1980's, many major retailers in the United States would accept credit cards using what was sometimes called a "knucklebuster" - a hand-operated device that would take a carbon-copy impression of the customer's credit card and produce a receipt for them to sign. Smaller businesses continued to use those devices into the 1990's, presumably because the new-fangled online terminals were expensive. I even recall some rural general store-type establishments using knucklebusters as late as 2005. The receipts produced by these devices were presumably then mailed (or possibly faxed) in for processing, leaving some significant latency.
How did merchants verify the acceptability of a credit card back then? Nowadays, even every little rural general store seems to have a high-speed Internet connection that they use to instantaneously verify the customer's card with the bank. What prevented a 1980's bandit from going on a spending spree with a stolen, altered, or revoked credit card and then moving on to the next town before the bank got around to mailing out "card declined" notices to the scammed retailers?