My Thoughts... Exactly!

Hey, you wanna know what I think?

Put Your Money Here

I had to cross a new threshold of trust with my bank. I have had my ups and downs with my bank, whose name rhymes with tank of M. Erica. For you hackers, with too much free time on your hands, my checking account number is:

Anyway, it was a bit of a step of faith to put checks into an envelope and shove them into a motorized, one-way slot and trust that somehow my account would be credited. It was another step entirely to put a couple of twenties (you know, unmarked bills; cash) into the envelope and run it through without writing my name on the envelope first.

If you find this envelope and you don’t know who gets the money my name is David Darrow and it’s my money.

It always throws me for a loop when I am there one day and come back the next only find that my bank has installed all new machines overnight, with stereo speakers, a full color display and movies — well, moving commercials for their bank (which is stupid because I am already there as their customer).

One Better
My bank
installed all
new machines
Well, yesterday I went to the ATM to deposit a $30 check, handwritten by a friend.

New ATM machines. Flashing lights around the card slot. Flashing lights around the deposit slot — very disco/Close Encounters-looking. But I needed an envelope… the old familiar envelope dispenser was nowhere to be found. Then I saw a clear box of “ads” with a picture of an envelope on them. I grabbed one.

In so many words, these cards were instructions on how to deposit checks or cash without envelopes. Hello?

I realize this will all be spoken about someday in such a way as to resemble discussions about 33rpm albums, but at that moment, I was stunned.

This brought out the gambler in me. It’s only $30 bucks. Let’s see what it does.

I held it near the slot that said (with arrows) Cash or Checks Here. I was sure a thief was watching me on camera laughing himself sick. I was thinking you’re actually going to stick your check in that slot with no envelope because they said to….

One-eighth of an inch in the slot, and it grabbed that check and pulled it in faster than a chameleon on fly. I jumped.

Now what?

My first reaction was somewhat like looking at the TV and having kidnappers show live video of my child being shoved in front of a remote camera to prove they have him and I cannot get him. I almost put my hand on the glass in an attempt to retrieve my money that had been snatched from my hand.

Five seconds go by, and on screen appears a scanned image of my check, right-reading, with the question “Is $30 correct?” — now, you have to remember that this check was handwritten, had a “write-over correction” (you know: where you mean to write something else as the first character, but you write something else by accident, and so you write over the first character harder and darker, and then continue…), and on the line where you spell out the amount, was a long hand-drawn wavy line, the handwritten, lower case word “thirty,” and another long wavy line.

The machine figured out that the check was made out for $30. It reads handwriting! And not-so-careful handwriting at that!

Amazed, I wished I had more checks. (Well, I still have that wish, larger amounts).

Anyway, my transaction was over, and I pressed the Return Card button, and got my card back, and also an unusually large receipt — which had a miniature picture of that check also printed on it.

That is crazy-scary-cool!


  1. Finally, the days of the Jetsons are here! Pretty amazing technology (IF it’s successful).

  2. That is cool! I remember a few years ago seeing BofA commercials talking about how they were working on handwriting recognition technologies to help cut down on paper work, etc. I guess this is an outgrowth of that!

  3. Paul and I are real dinosaurs. We would never use ATM machines or any of that stuff. Heck, we don’t even have a debit card or a credit card!

  4. Hmmm. I was at the Big Mall a few weeks ago, and noticed a man, with a gun in a holster taking all the checks and cash out of one of those ATM machines, and just a few yards away, was another (young) man, with a gun in a holster, watching this way and that way, and when the first guy finished unloading the machine, a third (young) man with a gun in a holster approached, and joined the first two, in walking out the door of the Big Mall.

    No one questioned them, whether they had a right to open that machine or not. All of us having our lunch in the Food Court of the Big Mall were watching, and just presumed they were the official ATM machine emptiers. Could’ve been Bonnie and Clyde.

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