The Evil ATM Empire

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And now for some straight-ahead ranting. I do a lot of banking with a bank who’s name shall remain anonymous, but who’s initials are “B-A-N-K-O-F-A-M-E-R-I-C-A”. I have probably 6 or so accounts with these guys, and have been a customer a very long time. A moderately respectable level of funds is always on deposit. Now, I generally like ATMs, and as with many people, have gotten very used to just shoving the card in and getting my money out whenever I need to. That is, as long as the machine is working and it isn’t out of money. But mostly this goes as expected. Today, a machine at the local branch (where my accounts are) did something phenomonally stupid, and then the bank’s customer service showed that the bank would be able to one-up the ATM machine by being even more stupid. The machine happily displayed “insert card now”, and I did. It ate up the card, never blinked and said “insert card now”. I suddenly felt like I was in Monty Python’s “argument clinic” sketch: “I’d like some money, please.” “If you want your money you’ll have to give me your card.” “Oh, ok… here it is.” Wait. Wait. “Um… the money?” “I told you, if you want your money you’ll have to give me your card.” “But I did give you my card!” “No you didn’t…” And so forth. The card just slipped into a black hole and apparently was whisked to an alternate reality. I even risked taking a random credit card and putting that in as well, which the ATM machine registered, and which it gave back. But my actual ATM/Checking card… down the rabbit hole. But I didn’t step through the looking glass until I called customer service. Not that the lady was rude or anything, but all she could offer was that when the regularly scheduled ATM people visited the site, they’d get the card out and give it to the bank. That might be Tuesday (and this is Sunday). I am not desparate for the card, but I thought this is odd — don’t they want to do anything to help a long time customer? So I pursued the matter with her. I pointed out that their equipment had malfunctioned, and didn’t she think they ought to do something about that specifically? Didn’t they think some effort should be put into helping the customer. Apparently, the answer is “no”. Business as usual, in other words. There’s regularly scheduled visits, and when one occurs, I can call the bank and then go over there and get my card. I even pointed out that perhaps other customers were having their cards dropped into a big crevasse someplace by this machine, and didn’t they want to at least take the machine out of service? Pretty good there, eh? Thinking of the other fellow, right? Well, she offered that I could call the bank Monday and tell them about that, too. In other words, I get the privilege of being an unpaid employee of the bank, doing their job of communicating about equipment problems at their sites, and thank you very much. This was astounding lack of concern. But I figured out how to get somebody out there RIGHT NOW. When I call customer service to tell them about the machine at that branch that’s giving out free twenty-dollar bills to anybody who presses a button on the thing, I’ll bet somebody will be there to get that machine fixed or turned off within 20 minutes. And I’ll be there to collect my card when they do…A. Biker
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