Real cash foldin’-money is my preferred way to conduct most transactions. Hand over the greenbacks, grab your change and you are out the door. No need to be asked “credit” or “debit” no need to figure out if I need to insert the card or swipe it, and if I have to swipe it, which way do I point it and at what velocity do I swipe for the desired results. Nobody likes to hear “Try it again…no, the other way, not THAT other way! Turn it over you little old idiot…now hit enter, NO, oh, you cancelled it. Here, just give ME your card!” Yeah, right. “Thanks, sweetie!” the clerk says on my way out. Nine people in line behind me none too happy their nachos and hotdogs are getting cold. Glad I’m not wearing a station t-shirt. Nope, that’s not for me. Why even touch a keypad when you could use cash? It’s gotta be a little bit more sanitary. I bet you wouldn’t want to see the lab results of a swab on one of those keypads. Probably have you wearing gloves next time back. Not that you could eat off the surface of an automated teller machine, but fingering it once to get enough cash for a week’s worth of other transactions puts the odds of not being infected more in my favor I think. Before ATMs we had to make a check out to “cash” or ourselves, and take it to a real human teller to exchange for money. Imagine that kids! Nobody does that anymore, and I mean both write checks and hire human tellers. Nothing behind those drive-through windows when I look but cobwebs and faded “Go Saints” fleur-de-lis. If they ever close down altogether and sell-off those tubes you shoot your transaction through I’d buy one. Swooooosh!! and I could have a beer delivered right from the fridge to my den! Just no rolled coins please. But I digress. (Quite a specialty of mine, I’m told) Let’s get back to the ATM to get a fistful of dollars, and some sure signs you might be in for a bit of a wait:
1)Long ramp-up. If the time between the point at which the customer ahead of you arrives at the machine, and actually inserts their card into the machine is over two minutes, it’s not going to be a quick in-n-out. Worse yet if they reach out the window and don’t have sufficient arm-length to insert the card, so they retreat, unbuckle, open the door and walk over. Extra minutes if they decide to back-up just a bit and reposition so they can reach after all. Don’t get too excited when they finally do, er, get it in, ’cause they may not be able to reach the cash delivery slot, usually a little lower, or the receipt slot, sometimes positioned to demand inhuman dexterity.
2)Delayed Response. Okay. I saw you pull up to the machine. You inserted the card and I guess it’s checking the various functions. Next, put that PIN in. Any minute now. You can do it, just stick your arm out and…wait, what’s that? Is this guy getting on his phone? Could he not remember his PIN and be calling somebody to refresh his memory? Is he having a stroke and dialing 911? I don’t know what’s going on up there but my lunch break is going to be shot at this rate!
3) Multi-Card User. Oh I just love this customer. Card one inserted. Code entered. Wait. Card expelled. Rip the receipt, toss both in backseat. Card two inserted. Code entered. Wait. Wait. Card expelled, tossed in back. Card three inserted, pin entered. Wait now, wait…c’mon baby this is the one…Damn! Card ejected with receipt. For the love of god lady, don’t ANY of them have a balance!? I should’ve brought a sandwich.
4)Cyclist. If the bank patron ahead is slightly obese, on a ten-speed in fluorescent orange bike shorts, has a pet monkey, hairy back and is sporting a wife-beater that says “GOT MILF?” you might not necessarily be in for a delay. But damn, what a sight that would be, huh?
5) Many, many passengers. So I find myself behind a work truck, and it looks like the whole crew is passing their cards up to the driver, one at a time, and huge stacks of cash are flying out of the slot each time. The eagle must have landed and these guys want their piece of the pie. The whole crew. All six of ’em. Wonder if they’ll even be a twenty left in there for me? I should’ve brought the scotch.
“The two-legged pink things are so complicated…..