ATM copy does not compute

I have noticed that more and more banks are using pithy “cute” copy on their ATMs. Nice try guys (WaMu is the first place I noticed it, but Commerce Bank is now doing it too) but this is one line item (“Revised ATM copy for 2008”) you can do without, post haste!

What is wrong with “yes” and “no”? This hum-drum but ever-so-effective copy allowed me to be in and out of the bank in 30 seconds or under. I barely had to read the screen. But things are different now. For instance, “This ATM charges $2 for this transaction. Would you like to proceed?”

The new options are now “Sure” and “I don’t think so.” Uh, excuse me? That is just extra reading I do not need, not to mention that “I don’t think so” is totally vague. If I press that, what’s next, “Are you sure about that?” followed by “Do you want to talk about it?” Who the heck thought of “I don’t think so” to replace “No.” How weak, how totally completely without certainty. Is “No” too rough, too definitive, too hard? If so, why not just go all the way into mousse-ified lily-livered spinelessness with “I dunno, maybe?,” or “I can’t make any decisions today,” or even “Can you decide for me? I’m a loser.” If the latter, why not take a cue from Google and give a third option: “I’m feeling lucky today.” Who knows, you might transfer money into your savings or you could just as easily open a 10-year T-Bond…with your rent money (oops).

“Sure” is also confusing. I don’t read each screen, I reserve just enough synaptic action to wiggle my fingers over the correct digits on the keypad. “Would you like to check your balance?” “Sure” and “I don’t think so” are not good options! This is not casual small talk here, this is get-in-get-out ATM ruggedness. I do NOT want to check my balance, and even if I did, I would have know that before reaching the ATM, not deciding, all spur of the moment like, as if I have nothing better to do, Oh, “Sure,” let’s check the balance. If you are blithely checking your bank balance with the non-chalance of “Sure,” then get in touch with me, I know a great philanthropic organization for you to contribute to: it’s called “The Organization for the Support of Lola.” I don’t want to have a dialouge with the ATM, I just want my money, thanks, and about that, I am “Sure.”

Bring back “Yes” and “No” and quit it with the pretty talk. If I want to make small talk, I will find someone a heck of a lot more interesting than my bank ATM. Hmph.

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~ by Lola/Dakini's Bliss Yoga on April 18, 2008.

One Response to “ATM copy does not compute”

  1. i, too, have noticed this attempt at softening the relationship between human and atm. and i don’t like it one it. our relationship is based on money, nothing more, and i’d like it to be as simple and to the point as possible.

    i do see the reasoning behind it, though, as it is just another way for a corporation to represent themselves in a friendly, down-to-earth manner and ask us to interact with them.
    this sort of reminds me of my battle with starbucks and my refusal to acknowledge their silly little made-up names for drinks and sizes. i will never call a “medium au lait” anything but a “medium au lait” no matter how many times they try to get me to do it.

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