March 4, 2013

ATMS Redux.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 9:01 pm


Back in 2003, I wrote a post in which I confessed that I had never used an ATM. In the post, I told you why that is and provided a picture of what can happen when an ATM doesn’t work, or doesn’t work fast enough.

Well, ten years have passed, and I’m here to tell you that I still have never relied on one of those things to hand me money. This is the case, even though my new bank set me up to use the farookin’ widget (they proudly pitch how many of such usable widgets are all over the state).

I don’t consider myself a Luddite (techno-challenged, for sure, but not a Luddite), but I just don’t trust a gizmo to deliver me cash. Indeed any thoughts I might have had of giving the magic cash machine a try vanished today.

I had to cash a check and, because the South Jersey wind was doing its vicious thing, I decided to use the drive-up window rather than getting out of the car to go into the bank. While I was waiting for the teller to deliver my cash, a lady drove at high speed from the other lane for the drive up window (the one to my right, with those pneumatic tube-sucking things) and cut to the left to get in front of me to pull up to the ATM. The ATM is situated past the main drive-up window. Presumably this is so that if a person wants to use the ATM, he or she can drive up to the ATM and let the person behind use the drive-up window or wait for his/her turn at the ATM.

Anyway, this woman who effectively blocked me in, flew out of the car, leaving the car running and the driver’s side door open and someone squawking at her over the speaker phone in the car. She was doing a high-speed button push thing on the ATM and after the button pushes, she placed her hand in the place where cash is supposed to come out. No cash. More button pushing, even faster this time and again putting her hand where the cash should appear. No cash. Now, frantic and angry button pushing while screaming something at or about the ATM. She again placed her hand under the cash slot, and still no cash appeared.

There it was, before my very own eyes – my worst ATM nightmare. Here was a person, obviously dependent on ATMs for cash and obviously in need of cash in a hurry (the person on her speaker phone seemed somewhat exorcised) and the machine was not delivering the money.

The cash-strapped woman realized that my transaction had been completed and that she was blocking me in (I never complained; I was enjoying the show), hopped back into her still-running car and roared out of the parking lot. I figured that she would have to go into the bank to see what was wrong, but I guess she knows more about ATMs than I do. All I know is that I got cash and she didn’t. It was all quite nuts.

I still have no use for ATMs. I’ll let you know in another ten years if anything has changed.


  1. I also have never used an ATM.I do not bank on line.I do not have a PIN or a card to swipe for the bank teller .
    Like the wooly mammoth preserved in Siberian ice ,I am frozen in time .I’m not sure what time ,but I know the hands on the clock are still .Do I mind ? Absolutely not .I have no idea how those things work , and I have no desire to learn .I hate passwords .I just hope I’m not frozen in the 60s because I despise many of those creatures from then who have given us most of the bad that we have today .

    Comment by john — March 4, 2013 @ 11:52 pm

  2. While I do use ATMs for withdrawals ( the transaction is taped, so there’s video proof if no cash is delivered ), I still don’t trust them for deposits. But a human interface isn’t foolproof, either. Back in the 90’s, I started bouncing checks, despite a recent deposit with a human teller at at bank which shall not be named ( OK, it was Chemical). The deposit was never entered, the check already sent on from the bank, and the bank refused to accept their own receipt as proof of deposit !

    Comment by Angie — March 5, 2013 @ 7:56 am

  3. I have never used an ATM either …..I budget my money for personal use & stay within my limits. Amazing, I almost never run short & manage to save my one dollar bills to place in my savings account. On those few occasions when I have run short , I either waited for my next personal payday or write a check against my business.I have 12 personal paydays a year & wrote only one extra check all year.
    Banking on line….I do some, being in business it is almost impossible not to for certain reasons such as transferring from savings to checking & vice-versa. Other then business needs all other transactions are face to face with my favorite bank teller…….quite a fine example of a beautiful woman I might add.

    Comment by dudley1 — March 5, 2013 @ 9:06 am

  4. On the other hand

    When University of Delaware senior, Devon Gluck, visited a campus PNC Bank ATM to withdraw some cash, he noticed the machine was making strange noises. The students that had been using the machine before him, seemed to have been taking a long time with their transaction. So, the finance major hesitated before inserting his debit card, and as he waited for a minute, the ATM mistakenly dispensed 18-$100 bills. Gluck said, “My eyes just opened really wide, and I was like, ‘Oh my god, this is $1,800 right here.’”

    Comment by CenTexTim — March 5, 2013 @ 11:19 am

  5. Having worked as a bank teller AND at a company that serviced ATM’s, all I can say is that either one can screw up and not give you your money.

    As a teller I once forgot to give a woman $300 in cash, and she walked out without noticing. I didn’t notice until the end of the day when I was balancing my cash drawer and came out $300 over. Fortunately, I was able to call her and get the matter straightened out.

    In defense of tellers, though, it takes 2 people to make a mistake of that magnitude. With ATMs, all it takes is one mechanical failure.

    Comment by Harvey — March 10, 2013 @ 10:54 am

  6. “24 hour banking? I don’t have time for that.” – Steven Wright

    Comment by GrinfilledCelt — March 31, 2013 @ 5:30 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress