Is The Percentage Of Dumb People At ATM Machines Proportional To Our Doomed Future?


This has happened to me SO MANY TIMES (and it happened again during today’s ATM visit), that I just had to write about it, and ask you how often that you observe this very same thing:

Dumb people at ATM machines.? And what does it indicate for our future (if anything)?

First of all, for the politically correct crowd that might happen across this post, I apologize for calling these people “dumb”, but I don’t know what other words to use. It just ‘fits’.

I am absolutely serious when I say that I observe this scenario approximately 80% of the time with at least one of the people in line in front of me during my visit to the ATM to withdraw cash at my local bank branch.

Each time it happens, it strongly reinforces my recognition of the fact that there apparently are a-lot of people out there who are perhaps somewhat – dumb. Again, if you can find better words to describe the stereotype of the people who are in the scenario below, let me know.

My observation and comments are nothing personal whatsoever towards these people!
I’m sure they’re likely to be very nice people!

However my takeaway (as a preparedness minded person) is the scary thought that these people would have a very very difficult time if ‘the rug is ever pulled out from under them’ (so to speak) and may likely turn into a roiling bowl of quivering jello during a crisis or disaster – not knowing the first thing to do. God help them (and us) if there is ever a serious collapse…

Here’s the typical ATM scenario…

I walk into the bank branch, into the lobby area which also has an ATM down at the end. There are typically at least one or two people ahead of me in line, waiting for the person who is at the ATM machine doing their transaction (or attempting to).

Sometimes the person who is already at the ATM gets their transaction completed in a normal or even quick period of time. But like I said, about 80% of the time, one of the people in line in front of me – IS THAT PERSON – the SSSLOW PERSON.

This particular ATM (like many others) lets out a fairly loud chirp every time a key is pressed on the keypad, and the speed of the ‘chirps’ reflect the speed at which the person is pressing the keys as they make their way through the simple ATM menus.

The lobby floor is hard tile, there’s lots of glass, and the chirps echo extra loud as if to highlight the ability (or lack thereof) of the person at the ATM.

Here’s the thing — and the clue that “it’s happening again” — I hear a ‘chirp”, then a pause, then another ‘chirp’, then pause – painstakingly slow.

Then there is a longer pause as the person has apparently become confused about what to do next, and who apparently thinks that if they stare at the screen long enough, that the ATM will suddenly start doing something, or someone will come out to help them.

The chirping resumes after awhile… (maybe they’ve figured it out!), the speed is increasing –

But wait! Oh No!! There’s another pause – longer this time – more confusion – more staring.

I know full well that they’re not waiting on the ATM to feedback a new screen or to process the transaction (which only takes seconds) – because I use this ATM all the time and I know the few simple button presses by heart – with my eyes closed.

Now it gets even better (or worse, depending on how you’re looking at this)…

This ATM (and I’m sure most others) will make a unique ‘DING’ when it’s waiting for you to do something while on one menu screen or another. It’s telling you to do something – it is expecting you to do something… It’s waiting.

So, after the excruciating length of time waiting and listening to the person’s ATM interaction of slow ‘chirps’, a pause… another ‘chirp’ (repeat), at one point I begin to hear the dreaded ‘DING’ – ‘DING’ – ‘DING’…

You have to understand that the ‘DING’ sound does not stop until the person does what they’re supposed to do. It just keeps ‘DINGING’.

What happens more often than not, is when the ‘DING’ begins to ‘DING’ repeatedly, it flusters the person even more (did I mention that the ‘DING’ is pretty loud?). This only exasperates the situation while the person just stares blankly ahead at the ATM screen, probably hoping that the ‘DINGING’ will go away, or wondering what’s on TV tonight…

FINALLY the person finishes the transaction. But it’s not over yet!

They have retrieved their cash and/or their receipt. BUT THEY STAND THERE IN FRONT OF THE MACHINE while closely examining and scrutinizing the receipt, or they stand there and count their cash – as though the machine might have not given them the correct amount!

After a few more agonizing moments they finally walk away.

I stand there in line for a few seconds, stunned once again as to the apparent level of capability of these people. Again, I swear it’s 80% of the time I will see one person in front of me exhibit this behavior. It can’t be… ?

I can hear you asking – were they ‘old’ people? NO! That’s the thing!
The demographic of what I’ve seen spans much of the age groups. From young to middle aged and beyond – I’ve seen it all.

It’s not like these people are using an ATM for the very first time – they’ve been around for decades. It’s something else entirely…

Which is why I ask, “Is the Percentage Of Dumb People At ATM Machines Proportional To Our Doomed Future?”


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