Monday, 9 May 2011
Maduraikku Pogathedee ( ATM's Song)
The apparently simple transaction is predicated on a number of important factors.
One, you remember your pin number. In the good old days when computers were housed in huge, liquid helium cooled rooms run by boffins, one only had one or, at the most, two PINs to remember. Now with everyone on lining here, there and everywhere you're likely to have a shed-load of the blighters, each ever so nearly the same as the next.
Advancing towards the money machine and congratulating yourself that you've correctly remembered the PIN, and not the number of your gym locker, you confidently insert the piece of plastic.
And recall that you're overdrawn - pay day still a while away - and did, or did not, the bank increase your overdraft. Such is the panic induced by this thought that you key in the incorrect PIN, not once but twice. Knowing that the next incorrect key in will see your card vanish, and by now being completely flummoxed, you cancel the transaction and sulk off money less.
Worse is being confronted by a maniacal cash machine. These usually inhabit the lobbies of banks where hundreds of frustrated, pissed off punters are milling around trying to find someone employed by the august institution who knows what they are about.
You have inserted your card only to find it being presented back to you by the little creature. You insert it again, and again the machine playfully returns it. Your third insertion is more successful, and you request a few pounds to tide you over. The machine smiles, regurgitates your card, prints out a receipt acknowledging that you've requested some money and then steadfastly refuses to pay out.
It is customary on such occasions to stare open mouthed at the machine, until you're poked in the back by some yob wanting to top up his druggie phone. You look around hoping to find some helpful teller to whom you can explain your dilemma. No such luck; so you stand at the end of the mile long enquiry queue - bit like triage in A & E, but infinitely less helpful.
Have you noticed, if you have the misfortune to be trapped in such a queue that, invariably, the person behind you is on the mobile talking extremely loudly about either their, their mother's or their pet's hysterectomy. The person in front of you, you discover too late, has had the misfortune of having to prove their identity and offers as proof, their rent book, parking ticket, union membership card, Nectar card and Travel card. When told none of the proffered documents are valid, the poor unfortunate produces a tea stained copy of a birth certificate and an out of date passport.
Eventually you are before the ministering angel that is the enquiry clerk - put there as it's where they can do least damage. After the third recital of your difficulty, you become convinced that they are deliberately not understanding to make their day less boring. Torturing helpless animals is a criminal offence; torturing helpless bank customers is a rite of passage.
"Oh why didn't you say. No, don't worry ( your little head) no money been debited from your account. It's a bit complicated this new technology, isn't it. Let's see if we can sort you out shall we? " (They've clearly passed their patronising exam). And with that they hand hold you thro' a process you've be doing successfully before they were born. "There, a pleasure to help. Is there anything else I can help you with today. Thank you for banking with Wank Bank".
Exiting the bank much diminished you promise yourself never to darken its portal again. Except you are hit by the crushing realisation that they're all the same and they've well and truly got you by the testicles, or what's left of them after that knackering experience.