ATM Adventures and the Writing Front

Monday, July 16, 2012


I have a secret I’m gonna share.

I’m intimidated by ATM Machines. If you haven’t fallen off your chair laughing, bear with me. It started years ago when my card was swallowed while I was trying to get some money out of my account. Several other incidents have occurred that prove ATM’s machines are not my friends. The last time I tried to lodge money after hours, I left defeated. And that time when I tried to make a deposit during banking hours to escape the line, I eventually had to go into the crowded banking hall and join what looked like 999 other people.


After today, I don’t think I’ll have the courage to face another ATM, or whatever the one I encountered today is called. After entering the bank, I wait at the information desk to see about an express line for what I wanted to do. The attendants take so long with the customers in front of me, that I give up and got in line. Fifteen minutes later, the roaming customer service person comes by and I ask her if there’s an express line for what I want. She points me to a line with one person in it and I hightail it to that section of the hall.

Source
I get to the counter and the rep tells me she’s only accepting cash and that I should go to the machine by the door and make an ‘express deposit.’ My heart falls to my ankles, but I approach the area.

There’s a man shoving a deposit slip back and forth, I had no idea why at the time. I read the instructions over his shoulder and wonder what on earth he’s doing so long. Finally, a sound comes from the ‘thing’ like some gears inside are grinding together.  He takes the slip out, looks at it and goes his merry way.

I get an envelope and a deposit slip, which I complete. Then, I read the instructions a second time. It clearly says to put the envelope in the ‘chute’, which I do. The security guard wanders over and says, “Did you just push the envelope in there?”

I nod.

He points to a slot at the top of the box thingie. “I think this is where you’re supposed to put it.”

I look at the instructions again. It clearly says ‘chute’. I look at the two ‘holes’ in the machine, and where I stuck the envelope definitely is a chute, complete with a slanted metal frame inside.

All my combined fears about errand have materialized. (Yes, I’d been thinking about it since Friday, when I avoided going to the bank.) My money is someplace it probably shouldn’t be and I’m holding a piece of paper which the ATM won’t stamp, because as far as it’s concerned, I haven’t put anything in.

I go back to the customer service desk and I say to the person there, “I’ve done something really stupid. I think I’ve put my payment in the wrong slot.”

She calls someone on the phone and then comes out of her enclosure. She ascertains where I put the envelope and asks whether I’d put in one copy of the deposit slip. Said agent then fools the ATM by dropping in a blank envelope to get my deposit slip stamped. She explains that there’s only one landing area inside, so my deposit is safe. (I hope)

I thank her and all but run out of the bank, burning with embarrassment. However, I learned some lessons today. (1) Don’t take everything so literally and (2) avoid banking machines and (3) whatever you expect is exactly what you end up getting. Sigh.

On the writing front, I still haven’t tried any of the stuff in the book I mentioned last week, but I did read Toby Neal’s book, Building an Author Platform that can Launch Anything: A Social Media Minibook. The Minibook contains lots of practical advice and there’s one particular thing in there I’m gonna try. 

Today has been a non-starter in the writing/editing department, but there’s always tomorrow. So, have you started the week at a crawl, trot or gallop?

22 comments:

  1. That is quite a story, Joy. I don't blame you for being afraid of the ATM.
    I started my week on a gallop, but not in the writing arena. For me, it's cleaning and doctors appointments and all that other necessary stuff in life. Hope to revise sometime later today.

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    1. I knew there was a reason I was apprehensive about going there this morning. :) Ah, the stuff that ordinary life if made of - we can't avoid them.

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  2. I'm not going to get into it, but I'm actually opposite of you. I'm intimidated by banks, but not by machines. That being said, I always deposit checks inside the bank. I've seen it go wrong too many times when people deposited in the actual machines.

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  3. I think I've grown too comfortable with having someone else doing that sort of stuff for me. I do agree that over the counter works best, but there was that line, you see. :)

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  4. I was an ATM late bloomer. I remember using the machines for the first time when I was in my early twenties. Before then I did almost everything with a teller. I've been the opposite since. I don't want to deal with lines or tellers unless I'm making a major transaction. I remember an ATM machine eating my card, but it ended up giving it back to me. That was a scary moment.

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    1. Maybe, if I got the card back when the machine took it, I wouldn't have developed the fear I have. I don't think I'll be going anywhere near an ATM again.

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  5. Ha, ha. Loved that story, J.L. I used to be an ATM junkie, but now I rarely use them. I go through the drive-thru instead. As for my week, it has started with a gallop, which means I'll be extremely lazy tomorrow. :)

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    1. The drive through is sounding better all the time. At least, there are people doing the stuff in there. Hope you do get some more stuff done tomorrow.

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  6. I must say that I'm not really a fan of ATMs either, although nothing like that ever happened to me.

    As for starting this week, I sort of did both. Started seriously exercising again, so that was the sprint, but I'm a bit slower with the writing, which I picked up again this morning. :-)

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  7. Hi, Misha,
    I hope you never experience what I have with these ATM machines.
    Hope you keep up with the exercise. I fell off that wagon again and haven't got back on yet. :(

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  8. Hmmm. It sounds like to me that some people (like yourself) could benefit from someone showing them how to use one of these things. You should ask your bank if there is someone that could do so and make an appointment.

    I would be happy to show you, but I don't live in Jamaica. I live off of ATM machines and mastered them all many years ago.

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    1. I don't believe I'll ever lose the fear that something will go wrong every time I approach an ATM. :(

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  9. I needed to start at a full gallop, but my speed is more like a trot. I see Michael's comment right above. Do ask your bank to show you all there is to know about the ATM for every transaction you need. Make notes. You can do it :)

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    1. The good this is that you've got started at something faster than a crawl. I've given up on mastering the ATM.

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  10. I don't like ATM machines either. Every time one sucks in my debit card, I'm worried it won't give it back. I know it's a machine, but still. Giving something my bank card just feels wrong.

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  11. I completely understand. For me it's not ATM machines, it computers. I use the bloomin' thing everyday, but I still don't trust it. I print out a hard copy of everything write because one day it will tell me that the 350 page manuscript I just finished does not exist.

    Don't laugh, It's done it before. It even told me the ms didn't exist on the thumb drive I'd saved it to either.

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    1. Stephanie,I've learned some hard lessons with the computer too. I've burnt out so many thumb drives, I don't use them much anymore. What I do is use Dropbox, which gives me access from anywhere. No more moaning over lost files and super-hot thumb drives that go dead.

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  12. ATM machines can be intimidating. I don't blame you. I prefer interacting with human beings.

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    1. Hi, Julia,
      Human interaction might not be quicker, but it's a safer bet for me. :)

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  13. Like this - "whatever you expect is exactly what you end up getting".

    Galloping this week.

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    1. So right, when I expect good things to happen, they usually do. I psyched myself up for that disaster, so...

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