ATM Rules — Cash Machine Etiquette

July 7, 2009 | Lists

"atm machine dogs"Cash machines — or electronic holes in the wall with money in ‘em as they’re known to drinkers — are all over the place, and we appreciate the convenience. It doesn’t seem right to pay a bar bill or settle a bet with a friend about who has the heavier head by cutting a check. Hitting up the ATM for a wad that seems like it comes from magic and that later will be cause for recrimination and guilt as you realize this is why your electricity is off… well that’s just something that could not have been accomplished with sticks, rocks and antiseptic made of mud and spit.

Earlier, we offered our fellow passengers some tips on How to Avoid Being a Complete Asshole on Elevators. Now we extend our lessons in basic urban civility with a tutorial on how to avoid the more repellent qualities of the worst ATM users. Here are our ATM Rules

1. Get back: Stand well behind me you personal space invading prick. If you are uncertain just how far you should stand back, imagine yourself sprawled out backward behind me after a punch to the throat for standing too close. Where your head is in this  scenario is where your feet should be. Really, it’s rude.

2. No Multitasking: Do not use an ATM for any purposes other than withdrawing money unless the machine is physically attached to a bank. If you need to check your balances, bump up your cell phone credit or declare bankruptcy, do not  try these exotic perambulations on a 7-Eleven ATM. Some of us have burritos and pornography to pay for. 

3. Do not check your receipt: Let’s say the worst happens and you withdraw your daily limit of a million bucks and the machine gives you a a buck fifty and a personal note on the receipt telling you you’re  a special kind of asshole. What can you do to remedy this situation? Curse at the machine like a moron, kick it, and tell the guy behind you in the line — who already thinks you’re nuts and otherwise doesn’t give a flying turd thrown by a monkey about you — that you were ripped off? Read your receipt while the next person is using the machine and deal with it at a bank if there’s a discrepancy.

4. Know your balances going in: There are few things more frustrating than wanting to pay for a clicking taxi meter while someone plugs in an assortment of ATM cards, checking the balances of different accounts to find out which one has cash like a junkie vein hunting. Know what cash is where going in and you will save yourself having  more mind hate directed your way than a prosecuting attorney who has just served a warrant on the area mentalist.

5.  Don’t be too chatty in the line: It’s already awful to be waiting in a line and considering which of the above four points the person currently using the ATM is violating without this becoming a social mixer at a club meeting for the Get-Along Gang. If you strike up a conversation with someone in the line to use a cash machine, you are telling them a) that you intend to rob that person and are gauging how much of a fight the person will put up while you’re holding  them by the ankles to shake the loose change out of their pockets, or, b), you are a personal space invader on the level of those who would violate rule number one, which is not much better.

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  1. They should post these rules at all ATMs!

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