Human behaviour is interesting, amusing and everything else in between. It’s not a contradiction in terms when people are described in the loftiest terms and yet in the same breath the vilest of scum! Some will say, ‘you just can’t run away from human nature.’ Human nature has different sides and this I believe is what makes us different from the other species on the planet.
One of the more interesting places to see various displays of our humanity is inside banks, restaurants, social gatherings of every sort and of course now one of the most common watering hole…the automated teller machines. This would not have been a place to conduct sociological experiments, but with technology and sometimes its common glitches (think network failure) this is a spot to observe several common traits.
The old joke about women and their ATM card is legendary so we won’t bother rehashing that one. On the other hand a man that blithely bypasses a very obvious queue and makes to use the machine sometimes occurs. The excuse, ‘I didn’t know’ also doesn’t quite wash. Yeah, you have a lot on your mind but the people lined against the wall didn’t just wake up and decide that would be their sole function that morning.
One time this chap actually thought the likes of us on the line were in no particular hurry and tried to slot in. There was no need to step in (this time) as another guy put him squarely in his place. He was amazed to discover he wasn’t quite smart enough to get away with it.
There are those that are also quite ‘helpful’ by nature and love to lend a hand…albeit an unsolicited one. These individuals readily come to the rescue and instruct when you seem to be taking longer than usual to get the cash. Again, we have those that think you like lingering around once your money’s out. They delight in giving loud suggestions… often quite rudely.
We mustn’t forget the very helpful bank ‘security’ guards. They wear different caps (sometimes outlandish uniforms!) at different banks and are used to parrying questions from every Tom, Dick and Sally. As a result some get carried away and step in uninvited. One literally stepped into an ATM enclosure to show a customer how to change a PIN. The woman wasn’t pleased and got him to leave very quickly.
Have you ever been on the queue when someone just jumped in? Meanwhile, the person in front hadn’t bothered to tell you that someone else was behind them. Not to be taken advantage of you had to ask. What about the time an obviously elderly person just slid in too? No permission or courtesy of any sort, they just took up the space. When this instance of ‘chancing’ occurs the younger usually keeps silent, it’s a few rare instances when a protest is made.
Nobody in a hurry ever prays for a line at the ATM but there are times when it’s pretty long and moves quickly but other times when the opposite is also true. Frustration from network failure, unnecessarily long waits, unfavourable weather and people behaving badly are just some of the things we have to contend with when we visit the cash machine.
Nobody wants to be delayed at these machines but invariably it happens. The best thing is to always make sure that when the unplanned happens and drama (of whatever sort) results to try and take it in stride. Easier said than done I know, but so long as it’s not life threatening we’ll definitely survive it this time and every subsequent visit thereafter too.