It’s the ATM’s 40th birthday everyone.
The first one was installed in London on June 27, 1967 by Barclays Bank.
I remember when the ATMs became prevalent in the 1970s. I was aghast at the idea of it. A machine replacing a human being! They are AUTOMATED TELLER MACHINES. Teller machines. Not tellers, but teller machines.
It creeped me out a bit. I thought, “Man, what will the poor tellers do when they are replaced by machines.” Humans obsolete.
I refused to use the ATMs because I didn’t want yet another well paying job to be replaced by technology. And also, I lived on the Lower East Side of Manhattan at the time and ATMs, housed in small glass vestibules in front of banks, became mugging nooks.
Anyway, I sort of felt about ATMs the way I feel about automatic checkout lines at supermarkets today. I boycott those. Mainly because I don’t want people to lose their jobs, but also, these machines have a long way to go before they’re as fast as the seasoned checkouts that speed through the order and actually know what arugula is.
Okay, not every checkout gal or guy knows that. I actually had a young kid ask me what strawberries were once. No kidding. (Hello obese America.)
Maybe I’m fighting a losing battle at banks where I still look for that human interaction. Maybe some day I won’t be able to talk to a real person, hand them my check and have them deposit it. (Yes, I don’t get direct deposit on many of my checks. Come on folks, I’m a freelancer, we’re lucky to get our paychecks at all.)
Even if I’m a relic, I think I’m doing my little part to help the American workforce keep at least a handful of jobs that pay a descent wage.
Come on people. Go into the bank. Celebrate the ATM’s birthday by talking to a live teller. I dare you.