Upgrading the ATM

If you were to play a game of Monopoly with me, I would insist on the banker’s role. I love dealing with money. One of my first real jobs was working in a department store. I was quickly moved to the office, because my employer realized I was lousy at sales. But a whiz with the cash register. My register ALWAYS balanced at the end of the long day. And the bills were neatly arranged facing the same way. By serial number.

Kidding about the serial number. But the bills? Everyone knows that they should lay face up, heads to the right.

I was a joy to work with.

I don’t know exactly when this anomaly/obsession first occurred. Perhaps right after I got my first checking account at the age of 15. For all my baby sitting booty. My check registers have always been a work of art. I’ve never bounced a check.

Not bragging. Just stating the facts.

Of course, as a struggling actress for most of my adult life, it wasn’t difficult to keep up with $10.56.

I don’t know exactly why I didn’t go into accounting. Or banking. Which would have suited the anal/retentive part of me very well. But the artsy fartsy side of me won out. And I was a flat broke artist who could manage her two digit income very well.

I get to play the banker in our home. Fiddledaddy works hard to make the money. And I get to arrange it in numerical order. While dining on BonBons. It’s a system that I like very much.

It is because of this, that I do the majority of the banking here in the House of Fiddle. And I will tell you, that years ago, when ATMs first appeared outside of banks, I didn’t trust them. I preferred to hand over my hard earned $1.50 to a real live human being.

Eventually, after moving to Los Angeles, where you never hardly ever want to leave your car, the ATM became my friend. Yet I had trust issues. Which I eventually resolved.

And now, I stand at a crossroads. The bank that I have been frequenting for many years, (we’ll call if Fred’s Bank for fun), has upgraded the old trusty ATM with a new and improved model.

Instead of having the ability to simply shove an envelope full of checks into the slot, and receive a trusty receipt in record time, the New ATM requires that I submit each check individually, for its approval.

It will then make a copy of that check, and subsequent checks, and spit out a receipt with copies of the checks recorded therein.

To good to be true? You mean, you don’t have to have your deposit readied BEFORE you drive up?

Not so fast, banking fans.

New & Improved ATMs at Fred’s Bank & Trust will often times spit your meager check out in disgust. And should the wind happen to catch said check in just the right way, you will find yourself on your belly, underneath the carriage of your van frantically grabbing at your wayward check. While ATM laughs maniacally. Asking if you’d like to redeposit the check. SO IT CAN SPIT IT OUT IN YOUR FACE AGAIN.

And ATM doesn’t care if you’re wearing a dress, either. Just sayin’.

So, I’ve begun avoiding ATM altogether. In protest. I only go to Fred’s Bank when there is a real live teller in the Drive-thru window. A real live teller who will offer me a nice piece of candy when I’ve finished my banking transaction.

Drive-thrus. Now there’s something I have a good deal of experience with. The teller chuckles good naturedly when my children attempt to order fries with a deposit.

Today, I just missed human teller with the big hair, and had to deal with ATM. Unhappily, I had 7 checks to deposit. Three of which ATM wanted nothing to do with.

The transaction took a good 20 minutes. And I had a good long line of angry drivers behind me. I did what I could, before I began ranting at the BAD BAD NAUGHTY ATM. Then drove away. With nary a shred of dignity. My deposit unfinished. And no piece of candy for my troubles.

Perhaps I should install a cuss jar on my dash. Right next to the CD player with my Christian music.

Tomorrow, I will pen the President of Fred’s Bank a tersely worded letter. In Braille. Because, it seems that’s the only language that ATM understands. Because there are actual instructions, in Braille, posted on the front of New & Improved ATM.

For blind drivers, I suppose. We don’t want to offend anyone, you know. For the sake of political correctness, and all that rot.

I just want to know, is Fred’s Bank here in Mildew, Florida the only bank involved in this hideous ATM practice? Or is it a nationwide epidemic?

Thank you for allowing me to vent.

Carry on.

September 10, 2008

18 Responses to Upgrading the ATM

  • Oh no! I don’t want that to come up to Indiana! I very much like my time at the ATM where I don’t have to have any interaction with humans. I’m friendly that way.

  • It’s international! We have some of those here in London. I’ve never had one reject a cheque, but then I never have many cheques to deposit!

  • Being the banker in our family, I totally understand.

    Our ATM’s don’t do that…at least I don’t think they do.

    I don’t use ATM’s.

  • Dee Dee,

    I worked in a credit union for 10 years and know ATM’s very well. I haven’t heard of this “new” one before. But, I can understand why they are scanning the checks because there is so much fraud out there. If you deposit a check, the bank has to make a certain amount of the funds available to you right away, good check or not. So they are protecting themselves. Believe me, there are more bad checks out there than you think. And the good honest people like us have to pay the price. Sad, isn’t it?

    By the way, use the night deposit instead of the ATM to deposit your checks. It goes into your account right away the next business day. Sometimes ATM deposits take two or three business days to make it to your account because they are operated by a different vendor.

    I only use ATM’s to withdraw cash. . . and count it before walking or driving away. They are not perfect.

  • The evil twin made it to the suburban Chicago area- where Fred’s bank bought out Tom, Dick and Harry’s banks- in that order! The checking feature reminds me of the bill slot on a vending machine that rejects old, well loved dollar bills. Not that I would know about vending machines, mind you. Feeling your pain, sister!

  • That’s horrible! I can only hope that system doesn’t make it’s way to New Hampshire. I only deposit checks once in a while but I always use the atm to do it. I hate using a teller – cause you know, then I have to actually talk to someone.

  • The ATM is only for dispensing money, in my humble opinion. I go to the drive up and deal with live people or not at all. I like having someone to blame – other than myself – if something goes wrong.

  • I think our bank has that new kind of ATM, but I’m not real sure….I stopped using the ATM for deposits a few years back, when I had to go in a “prove” my deposit was made through the trusty ATM, since it didn’t get credited to my account. I would be weary of this “new-fangled” ATM, too. I will tell you it works just dandy for withdrawals, which I seem to be doing alot of these days…not so much deposits, though:(((

  • I hate having to deposit checks. I prefer online banking. I despise machines that make my life more difficult. Thankfully, my bank has yet to upgrade their ATMs. But they do have braille.

    I used to wonder and smile at that. But now, I realize that it is likely due to the fact that often there are walk-up ATMs, and rather than make two different machines to make two different ATMs, they just the one with all the features. Sorry to spoil the joke. It is a good one. Just trying to uncover the mysteries of the universe. [smile]

    ~Luke

  • Okay this post was hilarious. I have never been able to deposit anything through an ATM. I have always had issues. I always figured it was operator error. Maybe not…

  • I stopped making deposits when my bank switched to that new ATM as well- and I was in line behind two people, the first of which was depositing a large amount of cash and the second who FOUND that large amount of cash when she went to make her own deposit and the machine opened up and there was previous customer’s large amount of cash. The machine forgot to eat it before moving on to the next customer. 🙂

  • Not seen an ATM like that yet, and from the sound of it I don’t want to.

    We, here in the prairie (according to my Hubs) are nearly as technologically advanced as those on the East coast, again according to my Husband.

    Again, this post was great.

    By-the-way, if you are looking for an accounting job I can think of a few people who could use your services. But, write that parenting book first!

  • Praying that these ATMs never come my way. I get why in theory, but does it make any sense to print out receipts with our checking info on it. For anyone to grab if we forget to pull it before driving away. And that is just one more thing I have to remember to shred. No Thank You!!

    Ooh, I am venting with you and we don’t even have those bleepity bleep bleep things up here.

  • I have always wondered about the braille on the ATM machines. And if a blind person had driven themselves to the ATM, I know just go with me here, how did they not run into the ATM while trying to pull up toit? Did they put their walking stick out the window to guide them along the side of the ATM? I’m just sayin’.

  • And that is why we live in Minnesota but bank with a former employer in Florida. We can mail in our checks in a postage-paid envelope and let the USPS mess us up. It’s the American way!

    (Oh! And since I did a story on this once, I now know Braille is on ATM’s to accommodate the blind who are driven around by taxi. There you go.)

  • I had a small panic attack about the braille instructions at my drive-up ATM a few weeks back. Now I’m completely paranoid about all these blind driving people.

  • OMG! I know who your bank is! I just got a notification about that new ATM! Thanks for the warning – I’ll make sure I never use that feature!

  • Our bank does NOT have those ATMs, but I’ve never put a deposit in an ATM. Why? Because a good friend of mine used to write documentation for how to use those things and warned me that you NEVER deposit at the ATM because if the envelope falls through the cracks and doesn’t into the right slot, it’s gone. Yup – stuck in the tummy of the ATM with no way to get at it, short of ripping the ATM out of the ground and replacing it with a new one.