Friday, May 21, 2010

Can YOU Use An ATM?

I know politicians are out of touch. You know politicians are out of touch. You know who the only ones who don't know that politicians are out of touch? Politicians. That is correct.



Take a one Senator Ben Nelson. He is a Senator from Nebraska.
Now, in an article that appeared over there in the Omaha World-Herald (I don't know why there is that hyphen between World and Herald. Can't it be both? And if it can't, why aren't they able to just choose one?), Senator Nelson was "...asked this week whether Congress should cap ATM fees". That almost seems like a reasonable question. But in order for it to be completely reasonable, you have to believe that the government should be meddling in private business. Now, I'm all for reasonable fees. (Actually, I'm all for NO fees. It's a freaking ATM. Transferring money around costs the banks pennies. If they're going to charge me three bucks, I'm going to find another ATM. It's pretty simple. Can't the free market and/or supply and demand take care of this on its own? Do we really need to have Congress telling us what to do all of the time? Sweet Mother of God, I hope not.) So, technically, it was a reasonable question.

What wasn't reasonable was Senator Nelson's response. He said, “I've never used an ATM, so I don't know what the fees are,” Nelson said, adding that he gets his cash from bank tellers, just not automatic ones. “It's true, I don't know how to use one." Um, what now? You don't know how to....? An ATM?? Really? Good Lord, man....

Now, I don't know if he realized that his response wasn't exactly the most down to earth thing that anyone has ever heard or what, but he decided to do the most inadvisable thing that anyone could do in this situation. He tried to make it sound better. And you know how that tends to end. That's right. By making it worse.

He then said, "But I could learn how to do it just like I've . . . I swipe to get my own gas, buy groceries. I know about the holograms.” Oh. My. God. What I want to know is when he learned to "swipe". I also really want to know what he knows about "the holograms" and how he knows it. If I had to guess, I'd probably go with his knowledge being limited to "Ooohh! Shiny!" Turns out, it was worse than that. The article tells us "By “holograms,” Nelson clarified that he meant the bar codes on products read by automatic scanners in the checkout lanes at stores such as Lowe's and Menard's." Wait. HE clarified "holograms" to mean "bar codes"? Where has this man been living since the mid-1970s? Under a rock? Under a holographic rock, was he?And it keeps getting worse!

No, I swear! In an effort to not make himself sound like a complete, out
of touch tool, he added, "I go and get my own seating assignment on an airplane...I mean, I'm not without some skills. I just haven't had the need to use an ATM.” ::: sigh :::

Wow. He gets his own seating assignment on an airplane. Yes, he clearly has skills! You might notice that he didn't say he books his own airline flights. He just knows how to go to the airport, stand in line and tell someone his name when he gets to the counter. I'm not so sure that I would call standing a "skill".

Look, how old is this guy? Hmm...it appears he was born in 1941. So he's 69. OK, I get the feeling comfortable with going into the bank to get your cash. My Mom is 78 and my uncle is 80 and they both do that. But they both also know how to use an ATM! They both also know the difference between a freaking bar code and a hologram! And finally, neither one of them would add swiping a card to pay for gas or groceries as one of their "skills".

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