Friday, April 11, 2008

ATM - A Telling Moment

I recently had an unpleasant experience with an ATM. Not an awful experience, you understand, but neither pleasant nor, indeed, fruitful.

I'd stopped off on my way to work to collect some cash, stuck the card in, pressed all the right buttons and requested a few purple pictures of our dear Queen when, right out of the blue (or in this case, green) the machine displayed this message:

Your bank has not authorised this transaction

before going on to vigorously spit my card out with the sort of disgust that one might normally associate with, say, finding a short, course, curly, ginger hair in an otherwise inoffensive cream eclair.

Once I'd retrieved the card - which had been propelled past my ear at a phenomenal speed (I swear it was accompanied by a very small "sonic boom") I resolved to call my bank manager, almost immediately.

Fortunately, by scrambling under the seats of the car and sorting through the two years of debris that have collected there I had been able to salvage enough loose change to buy my breakfast (although I admit one of the coins was a funny green colour). Actually, I found half a Big Mac too, but it was cold. So, soon, I had settled down in the office with the regulatory pint of coffee and bacon buttie, and was on the phone to my bank manager.

Bank managers, eh? They're invariably portly, balding, bespectacled little men, with names like "Mainwaring", or "Grimsdale", trying to overcompensate for their lack of stature by nagging you ceaselessly about your overdraft; or they're pale grey shades who look half dead, exhibit no personality whatsoever, and smell of mothballs. Right?

Wrong actually. My bank manager is a very pleasant lady whom, for the sake of anonymity, we shall call Heather. Well, I say pleasant, but what I really mean, in the nicest possible way, is that she's a bit of a nutter. I'm sorry, Heather, if you're reading this, but it's true.

Allowing for a certain amount (quite a lot actually) of artistic license, the conversation went a bit like this.

"Look, its kind of embarrassing, I mean, I think I did everything right, but, well, nothing happened."
"That's OK, don't worry, let me have a look... There shouldn't be any problem, everything looks quite healthy really. Perhaps you should just try again?"

"I did. I waited a couple of minutes to calm down, because, well, I was upset. You see this hasn't ever happened to me before. Honestly. And then I tried again, and I was really careful in case I'd done it wrong somehow the first time, but, well, nothing happened. Again!"
"Hmmm, was there anything odd about the situation? There weren't any odd attachments?"

"Attachments?!? No..."

"Anyone watching you?"

"Oh come on! No! There's no way I'd do it when someone was watching!"
"Well, it was probably just a glitch, you know, one of those things... It happens to lots of guys. Try again and everything should be fine."

"Yes, but its never happened to me before, and what it it happens again?"
"Well, try not to worry about it, that wont help at all."

"That's easy for you to say. You're not the one it didn't happen to!"
"Well, maybe next time you could try a different one?"

"Isn't that a bit, well, promiscuous?"
"Nonsense! Thats what they're there for! Relax, have a glass of wine, try again. Even if you try two or three different ones, we'll still respect you in the morning."

"OK, I'll give it a go, and, if it happens again I suppose I'll just have to go into the branch and do it the old fashioned way..."
"That's the spirit! If all else fails you can always write a cheque!"

Well, if thats how much fun a conversation can be after a cash machine refuses me a hundred pounds, I cant wait 'till I'm turned down for a mortgage!


Anonymous said...

Maybe you need some of those blue pills to help you with your ATM technique?

Anonymous said...

That fella was right - you really DO sound like Mr Logic.

Anonymous said...

Good job it decided to spit and not swallow