If Money Machines Could Talk

An ATM displays some personality in Cancún. Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

An ATM displays some personality in Cancún.
Photo credit: M. Ciavardini

Wouldn’t it be great to listen to what an ATM gets to hear on any given day? There’s an entire arch of a story line, starting with “Do you suppose this is safe?” to “Does it give out dollars or pesos?” to “Oh my God, that check didn’t clear and I only have $25 available” to “When it says $300 does that mean in dollars or pesos?” to “I can’t figure out how much I need; I guess 500 should get me through the day” to “Do you think they really take video of all of this?” to “Imagine having that job. Just watching video of people withdrawing money all day long” to “Let’s see if he’s awake and give him some ATM porn” to “I think I tipped the bartender too much and I need more twenties” to “I have no idea where my money went” to “Oh my God, how did we get to negative 2,457? This cannot be right!”

PINIf I were the ATM, I’d just spit out a snippy “Transaction Denied” to every fifth customer just to mess with their day. I’d play with the “Request Is Temporarily Unavailable” button all day long. I’d enjoy the range of users’ emotions from anxiety to elation to computer-smacking rage. I’d relish hearing a few prayers and would toy with the rough users. I’d slip an extra few to someone who looked like they needed it. I’d be a heaving, seething, manic money machine. I wouldn’t want to be stuck behind the glass barriers of bank doors or in a convenience store near the tobacco products or in a grocery. I’d choose a vacation destination, give myself a cool name, and start spitting out cash.

—Lori Tripoli

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