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Shell Shocked: Bonnie and Clyde need not apply

By Staff | Aug 6, 2019

Art Stevens

What is the world coming to? Must everything be done through machines, computers and robots? I went to my local bank the other day to deposit a check and noticed that the interior had been totally refurbished. There were no tellers. So much for satisfying the urges of contemporary Bonnies and Clydes.

I thought for a moment that I was hallucinating. How could this be a bank and not have live tellers handling money, checks, money orders, deposits and all other bank stuff? A live person who had previously been a teller at this branch noticed the look of stark confusion on my face and ran up to me.

“Hi, Art. Good to see you again. What can I do for you today?”

I said as emotionless as I could “What the hell is going on here? I’ve come to deposit a check and there are no tellers in sight.”

He said: “Take it easy, Art. You’d better sit down. Our bank has decided to do away with tellers. It’s a new innovation in banking and we’re among the first to implement this new system.”

I said “I’m here to deposit a check. How can I deposit a check if you don’t have bank tellers?”

He said: “It’s all being done through automation. You can put whatever checks you want to deposit directly into this machine and you’ll get a receipt when you’ve finished. It’s really very simple.”

I was wary, reluctant and suspicious. “This is the first time in all my years doing business with a bank that I can’t hand a deposit slip to a bank teller. What if I had some personal banking matters that I needed to discuss with the appropriate people? How would I do that?”

He said: “Art, the world is moving toward doing business without the human factor. You’ll just have to learn to read computer screens, follow directions and all your issues will be addressed.”

“So you’re telling me that this branch won’t have any real life people to talk to? Only machines?”

“Yes,” he shouted. “Isn’t it grand? It will be a do it yourself experience.”

I gritted my teeth. “Okay, how do I start? How do I deposit this check without human intervention?”

He said: “Easy as pie. Let me have your debit card.”

I said, “I don’t have a debit card.”

He said, “Then you can’t deposit any checks unless you have a debit card.”

“So what do I do now?” I asked. “I need to deposit this check.”

He said: “You’ll have to go to another branch which has live tellers.”

I was really confused now. “So without a debit card I can’t deposit a check here. But at other branches you have live people doing what tellers have traditionally done. So why should I continue to come to this branch.”

Now he was confused also. “To do banking without the need to work with live tellers.”

“But without a live teller and a debit card I won’t be able to deposit checks here.”

“That’s correct, Art.”

“So I’ll have to go to another branch if I want to deal with live humans, right?”

“Well, if you put it that way, the answer is yes.”

“Then what purpose will this branch serve?”

He said “Automation is the way of the world, Art. You need to get with the program.”

And so we went round and round before I picked him up and inserted him into the automated machine. The screen recorded that I had unsuccessfully deposited a check but had successfully deposited a pork future.