It’s Safer To Get Killed In Traffic (Subtitle: Don’t Use Off-Brand ATMs, Even At The World’s Largest Retailer)

I get zinged for my love and use of index cards. They are both practical and whimsical. I can take notes, make card houses, and draw. I can also use them to quickly leave notes everywhere, sometimes to the disgruntlement of almost the entire planet.

Due to momentary insanity, I opted to use the ATM at Walmart. The fee was low – and so was enthusiasm for driving across traffic to my bank. I knew better but did it anyway. Some people define that as wisdom.

I watched as the machine scrolled through the prompts, indicated it was dispensing money, and then the red light near the bill dispenser flashed. Uh-oh. I took out my phone to record, despite the Fort-Knox number of cameras in the register area. If you didn’t know this secret, Walmart and most stores experience sudden camera failure when YOU need them. A UFO could fly across your head and they’d just shrug. The machine gave me a card, a receipt, followed by zero money. The receipt indicated I’d been had. I meant charged.

It was at that point I realized I had not, in fact, recorded anything. Murphy’s law was somewhere behind me, watching with an evil grin.

I flagged one of the six managerial types standing in the dead limbo zone between the self-checkout kiosks and freedom. You’ve seen them. They evidently don’t do checkout anymore – they instead employ people to leer at us while we do it for them and then act invisible when our kiosk needs attention. He ambled over. “Oh, we don’t own that machine.” (Which turns out isn’t true. They do. They rent the space to the company on the face of the ATM.) He then said the strangest thing: “Yes, it’s been broken for at least a couple of days.” I looked at him with a mixture of incredulity and confused mirth. “Uh, you think an ‘Out of Order’ sign might be needed here? If that’s the case, you are needlessly stressing your customers,” I said, trying to be patient and calm.

We traded comments, me for fascinating information to use later, and he, because he read the wrong side of the customer service training cards when he was hired.

I called the number on the ATM. It went as well as you’d think. Yes, they knew it was broken and likely out of cash, the woman allegedly doing customer service told me. Yes, multiple people had angrily called. “Can you take my information? I’ve had this happen before and I got screwed worse than ________.” You’ll have to insert a colorful analogy there. It was very funny but risque. I could tell immediately that the person on the phone was as interested in helping me as someone who wants to push someone else down the stairs so they’ll get to the bottom faster.
No, she wouldn’t take my information. In her case, she learned her company’s motto: “We’re not satisfied until you’re not satisfied.” I asked about the camera in the front of the ATM, having been through this scenario previously. “Oh, there isn’t one,” she said. She told me that Walmart or corporate owns the machine and her company rents the space. “Who owns the accountability?” I asked. Insert “blah, blah, blah” here. She told me that no one was coming to service or fill the machine – nor to put an “Out of Order” placard on it. Walmart employees wouldn’t do it either, because “it was their job or their machine.”

Before hanging up, I informed the woman on the phone that I was trying to take out $300 for both groceries and meth. That’s how I confirmed she was the most humorless person in the world. I told her I loved her and that I wanted her to have a good weekend. Plot twist: she hung up.

I will admit that because I carry permanent markers, I ALMOST wrote directly on the face of the ATM monitor. I had to really control myself. Instead, I wrote on several index cards and put them everywhere. There ended up being one inside the money dispenser that you can’t see in the picture. You’d be surprised at how often I use my stash of index cards to let everyone else know that something is broken, their tire is low, or that their face reminds me why I don’t ever want to be in a Turkish prison.

As I was leaving, two people were at the Money Center complaining that the ATM was broken.

At least a kind soul took the time to let everyone know the ATM was potentially robbing customers.

Wait! I’m that person! 🙂

But did I die?


So help me, if my money isn’t put back into the account, I am going to be really irritable. I’m not going to do as I did years ago and rant and fight either the ATM company or Walmart. That just wastes my life. No, I’m going to squirt super glue into the card slot every time I go in there. Extreme? Yes. But you only say that it’s extreme because you’ve never had a bank or ATM ‘take’ $400 of your money (twice) and then say it was you who screwed up. By the way, thanks Arvest for the valuable lesson a few years ago. They weren’t wrong: I had screwed up by staying with them after the first mistake.

It’s Friday and if I don’t get my meth, I don’t know how I’m going to watch Masterpiece Theatre.

PS I don’t use meth. That’s just crazy talk. Heroin is cheaper.

Love, X

2 thoughts on “It’s Safer To Get Killed In Traffic (Subtitle: Don’t Use Off-Brand ATMs, Even At The World’s Largest Retailer)”

  1. An interesting development in not taking on years of raging with Walmart et al, much in line with your new, I don’t know philosophy. Let anger rage for as long as super glue takes to set!

    Liked by 1 person

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