Wednesday, March 28, 2012


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 money. 

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 tellers.”

Oh, lovely. 

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 her. 

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.

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At 3:50 PM , Blogger Miss Healthypants said...

OMG, I almost lost it on that last line - hilarious!! :)

At 6:02 PM , Blogger Will J said...

I disagree with your assertion that this is a boon for those who are introverted. My experience is that it is the small daily interactions that help keep my own introverted tendencies from leading me from detaching from the world and community around me. Also, every time I see the self-check at the grovery store or Home Depot, I am reminded that there is one fewer person at work. While not perfect, those were decent jobs with benefits. (BTW I 'peg' the introversion side of the Kiersey and Myer-Briggs measurements, so I admit that my perception is not normal).


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