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BANK MACHINES

 

Searching for a bank hole in the wall machine is never fun, as most invariably prove to have no money left in them. Some at least have a message on screen allowing you to see that they are empty. Others allow you to insert your card, press your pin number in and get halfway through a menu before telling you they are empty.

 

Very few stock £5.00 notes, and the few who do get drained more quickly than others. It is annoying when you want to get £5.00 or £10.00 just to cover a taxi fare for home, but the bank machine will only let you draw out £20.00 notes. This can be bad if you have an interest generating overdraft, and even catastrophic if you have only £19.86 in your account at the time.

 

What is worse is that many ATM machines that do function attract a queue half a mile long. Worse still is the sight of a machine with no apparent queue until you get within five yards of them when a whole bunch of people materialize as if they have been teleported there just to get in your path.

 

Another ATM phenomena are street peddlers. Beggars, eager to make you feel guilty for drawing paper money out for yourself while claiming not to be able to offer the cost of a cup of tea (or a bottle of Meths), Such people wait for ATM users especially for this purpose. It never makes me feel guilty or intimidated.

 

My own use of an ATM is rapid, as after all I usually just want cash, or confirmation that some rare ingoing bank-payment has cleared OK, so why do some users in front of me seem to take an eternity to use the dammed things, often making the service as slow and laborious as queuing inside the bank?

 

I have seen ATM users insert their cards into the machines before losing interest in them to have a lengthy chat on their mobile phones, regardless of the people lined up behind them. This is sometimes even pertinent to their business as some will ask the person being called for the pin number (which the banks tell us to keep private and share with NO ONE) for the card, which the user then shouts out for confirmation as they key the details in Ė half the time they mishear and have to get confirmation. If I was a neredowell, I could easily snatch the card and make use of such casually shared data. All I want however is for them to go away and let me quietly use the machine myself, if they havenít taken the last of its money so my mission turns into an epic odyssey all over again.

 

Arthur Chappell 

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