Andy Rooney time

atm_queue I went to the ATM to withdraw some money today.  Two ladies, a little older than me, had occupied the automatic tellers with positively archaic tasks.  One was busy paying bills.  The other was getting her bank book updated.  Suddenly I had the suspicion that I had been transported back in time thousands of years, and a Tyrannosaurus Rex was likely to come crashing out of the verdant Cretaceous rainforest.  Paying bills at an ATM?  Bank books?

I can’t even remember the last time I wandered out to an ATM with a sheaf of bills in my hand.  You can deal with this crap online or by phone, without the people in line behind you being able to see that you’re 90 days overdue.

And those itty-bitty bank books—Great Caesar’s ghost.  I haven’t touched one of those since my second year of high school.  It’s wonderful that there are people still using bank books, meticulously keeping them up-to-date and carefully balancing their checkbooks against them on the back of a brown paper bag.  That’s much simpler and more reliable than learning how to click the mouse two or three times so your bank statements get downloaded into Quicken.

Reminds me of my grandparents’ generation, who would cheerfully waste an hour at the bank, conducting all transactions in person,  receiving a little bank-stamped piece of paper for everything.  Didn’t trust ATMs, of course, because people—unlike machines—are never prone to human error.

Wake up fellas.  Plug in the effin’ abacus and get online.  We’ve long since passed the point where electronic fund transfers are not only routine, but essential to ordinary, everyday operation in many (most?) sectors of industry.  Put it this way—if by horrible catastrophe the banks lose all ability to transfer and track funds electronically, little stamped pieces of paper aren’t going to resurrect our financial security.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.