Thursday, April 15, 2010

Bring Back the Standard ATM Machine!!!

A couple of years ago, the company I worked for had a contract to design bank branches. The contract was with the same bank that I use. For me, this was pretty exciting; especially when a new branch was built near where I live and work and shop.

When a new branch went in near my regular grocery store, I was thrilled to try out the new ATM machine. My experience was less than satisfying. I was making a deposit. I needed to get a deposit envelope. The door on the envelope enclosure was difficult to open and I knocked my knuckles and broke a nail. I drove around the ATM and filled out my envelope before getting back in the lane to complete my transaction.

Now those that know me know that I’m of “petite” stature. My arms are proportionate to my height (i.e. they’re short, too.) As I pull up to any ATM machine, I pull as close as I can without scraping my side mirror so that I can reach the machine. Even then, I have to put on my emergency brake, and undo my seatbelt to reach. Sometimes I even need to open my door a bit to get a better reach. Imagine my surprise when, at this brand new ATM, the machine sits up higher than what I consider a standard ATM. At this one, I had to tuck a leg under myself to give myself a little lift (thus bumping my head on the car door when reaching out to get to the machine.) So much of an annoyance, I decided it was a design fluke and made a note to visit OTHER ATM machines and not this one again.

Fast forward to the merger between Wachovia and Wells Fargo. New bank, new signage, new ATM machines. WOOHOO!

My closest (and regular) ATM is about 4 miles away. I needed to run by and grab some cash one night before picking up some dinner. I don’t need to go to the ATM much, so I didn’t realize the bank had replaced the ATM with a new, “improved” model.

As normal, I pull up OhSoClose, without scraping my side mirror. I roll down my window and go to put my card in the machine. Oooooh! All new! Touch screen and everything. There’s a number pad just below the touch screen, so entering my PIN is not a problem. “Welcome to Wells Fargo; Please choose a transaction from the touchscreen.” So I reach. Nope, can’t reach. I pull the emergency brake and unbuckle my seatbelt and reach. Nope, still no luck. I sit up on my leg, bumping my head. Still cannot reach. I try to open my door to get a closer reach… let me remind you that I’m just inches away from the machine and the door opens minimally. I STILL cannot reach. What the ___? I had to move my car forward (past the ATM machine so I could get my door open) and walk back to STAND in front of the ATM; in the open being wary of other people around and other cars pulling up to use the machine. UGH! This really annoyed me. When I got home, Doug got an earful, and he’s not even to blame! I just needed to vent.

Tonight, I needed to deposit a couple of checks. This time I already knew that sitting in my car to make my deposits was not going to work. So I pulled up in the lane with feet left between my car and the curb. There was a woman in front of me in a full sized sedan. I watched her. I wondered if she’d have the same experience I did; I wondered if a full sized car would make a difference in her ability to reach the machine. NOPE! I watched her reach, reach, reach, reach again, then try to open her door (she also pulled close to the machine and could only open her door slightly.) I watched her throw her hands in the air more than once and shake her head. When it was my turn, I pulled just past the touch screen (so that my backseat was even with the machine, pulled my emergency brake, and got out of my car to stand at the machine. Another car had pulled up behind me when the woman in front of me was working on her transaction, so now I felt very vulnerable. The ATM machine is no longer a convenience. I no longer feel safely tucked inside my locked car while I make my transactions. Thank goodness it wasn’t raining, too!

It is clear to me that this is no longer an isolated design flaw. These ATM’s, I think, are being designed for the comfort of those driving gas-guzzling SUV’s!!! Those of us that are still driving cars are being put in danger. The new design does not work for customers driving cars. I have chosen to drive a vehicle that gets excellent gas mileage and will not be bullied by my bank to begin driving an SUV! Bring back an ATM design that keeps all customers safe!

Who’s with me???