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.

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