When I was working as a customer service rep in 1985 at a
downtown bank in Austin, Texas, automated teller machines were the new thing.
At the time, we were encouraging all our customers to obtain an ATM card. It
would be a convenience to them, and (more importantly) it would save the bank
Being a large downtown bank near the capitol building, we saw
our share of political officials come through our doors. One day, I offered an
ATM card application to particularly colorful member of congress who responded
in no uncertain terms that he was not about to use "one of those tit-less
I won’t say who that was, because that would be indiscreet.
Okay, if you must know, it was Rep. Jake Pickle.
He laughed, gave me one of his infamous pickle lapel pins, (see
photo) and sauntered off to make a transaction with a (female) teller. Lucky
Nowadays, it would seem unthinkable to conduct all of your
monetary transactions only with bank tellers, breasts notwithstanding.
But there are so many other do-it-yourself options these
days that make our daily lives so very convenient.
Checking incoming flight status? Hop online, check your
smart phone, or if you’re really living back in the 20th century,
call the automated toll-free number. Gone are the days of having to “wait for
the next available representative” for an hour.
Post offices: There’s always a line snaking out the door when
all the postal workers take off for lunch. Bah! Look around for the automated
postal thingie. It looks like a big ATM machine and that puppy does everything.
People seldom use it.
I love the self checker-outers at the grocery store. If you
wait in line for one with an actual clerk, you know you’re going to end up in
the slowest-moving line. And let’s face it: One doesn’t need a certificate to
swipe a can of corn over a bar-code reader.
Yes, we pass up on human interaction with all these
do-it-yourself gizmos in our daily lives. For those of us on the slightly
introverted side of the scale, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
For those like Congressman Pickle who demanded boobies to ogle,
well, those days are long gone.
Labels: Jake Pickle, Texas