Remember when it didn’t matter if your bank account could cover the amount of the check? You always had a few days before the check would hit the bank. Sadly, ATM machines have spoiled the sport of financial finagling.
I think there should be an alpha keypad so we could text-message the ATM, setting the tone for the interaction much as we once did face-to-face with tellers. We could either type, “Good morning, ATM. I wish to withdraw some funds from my account” or “SUP? Gimme twenty.” If you DO go inside the bank, the teller will likely say, “I’m sorry. You’ll have to speak to one of our ATMs.” To think, the ATM now gives mortgage approval.
I’m use to the voice recognition of “No thanks” but I never got comfortable with bowing to the ATM machines in Japan. Here in the U.S., I figure the ATF will soon install breathalyzers in all ATMs.
Jay Leno said, “The fees for withdrawing money from your ATM machines are expected to double, even triple. You’re gonna pay two to three times as much to withdraw your money; so basically, the ATM machines have become full service. Instead of getting robbed at the ATM machine, the ATM machine robs you. You eliminate the middle man.”
I saw a sign outside a church building, which read “ATM inside.” I thought to myself, “No way! An ATM in the church? I know the world and its technology is advancing, but really? Bringing an ATM card machine in the church?” Then, I saw the rest of the sign. The next line read, “Atonement-Truth-Mercy.” No, the church hadn’t brought a literal ATM card machine in the church; the sign was simply stating what was already there.
Have you noticed that the people we encounter at an ATM are usually not friends and neighbors with whom we would greet and chat? These are people we avoid looking in the eye. We get the idea that these people might shoot us and steal our money. So, we avoid even a casual glance at them. Out of courtesy or safety, we stand several feet away from others at the ATM machine hut. We may see only three people waiting on the ATM machine, but we stand at least ten feet away from each other. At the bank, we stood in a line within a few inches of customers and picked lint off each other’s shoulders.
Today, I took my eight-year-old grandson with me to the drive-thru ATM. I let him do it all, from inserting the debit card to fetching the cash. It seemed like a whimsical and teachable moment, until I realized later that he knows my PIN and where I keep the car keys. Now that I look back, I think he misunderstood the process.
“Mimi, you won 60 dollars!”