PSA: "The ATM, probably the best invention ever to exist."

Originally published at: PSA: "The ATM, probably the best invention ever to exist." | Boing Boing

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Back in the day I used to make little stickers that said “Mugger in Mirror is Larger Than They Appear” that I would put on ATM security mirrors

Good times


Well hello there, fellow member of the Emerson Mafia!


Well, ATMs are pretty useful if your enemy has tanks, but I think SAMs are probably just as important. What faction is he playing as?


I still remember the days when my parents’ bank had a drive-up window where you’d fill out paper deposit and withdrawal slips and drop it in through a pneumatic tube where it would go to a living, breathing teller. I think there was an intercom or something too; they seemed to know when there were kids in the car because sometimes they’d drop some balloons or lollipops in the capsule with the cash and receipt.


Those are still all over the place in Colorado - no idea if they are actually in use, but a lot of banks have like 2 lanes of those and a third lane with an ATM.


It’s a shame that they don’t do that anymore with digital cash transfers thanks to bandwidth issues. We should have listened to Ted’s warnings.


I met an older guy this Christmas who told me he had never used an ATM in his life.

He had a computer, he had a cell phone, but the ATM was one holdout, he didn’t trust them.


Hey, I’ve used that ATM before.


ATMs can get moody but at least they aren’t as dangerous as soda vending machines.




How about a passbook? You handed it to the teller with a deposit/withdrawal slip and the teller recorded the deposit or withdrawal by hand and then stamped the date in your book. I’ve got one in a box somewhere.


My college internship was as a bank teller. We had those drawers that extended, as well. Once, a customer took off as the drawer was retracting and bent it so that it wouldn’t come back in. For the rest of the evening - and part of the next day - we had to run out to the customer’s car to conduct business.

The pneumatic tubes are definitely an improvement!



I’m old enough to remember going into the bank, at least with my parents. While they were doing their banking business with a teller a bored kid could, hypothetically speaking, write, “Put all cash inside a bag and hand it over quietly and no one gets hurt” on the back of a withdrawal slip and put it back in with the others.


Yup in UK 80’s early 90’s too. Early tech.

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I received a check a year or two ago, and I had to go to the bank to ask what I was supposed to do with it. I am not young; I’ve just not seen a check in the wild in decades.


Are they really that rare these days? I still send and receive checks from time to time. Just a few weeks ago I had to write four separate checks to the government as part of the process to apply for passports for my family.

My bank’s ATM makes depositing them easier than ever. It just sucks them directly in and scans them, and you just hit “yes” if it read the amount on the check correctly. In the olden times ATMs used to require you to put them in envelopes and do math to add up the total amount if there was more than one.

There’s apparently also the option of photographing the check with an app on your phone to skip the ATM entirely but I’m not that advanced yet.


The bank teller said I could just take a picture with my phone and upload it through my app :smile:


Judging from timezones, @euansmith is in Britain, and you are on the West coast of the US.

In the Anglophone world outside the US, checks/cheques are now almost completely unknown. I haven’t owned a checkbook in thirty years, and I haven’t seen a check in more than twenty, except for giant novelty checks being presented by gladhanding politicians taking the credit for sports club funding that they had nothing to do with in the first place.

Entire generations have grown to age and had their own children, never having seen a check, outside of the US.

Yes, they really are that rare, except for you.


So you are familiar with how they work then.