Inserte su tarjeta

On the intoxicating allure of a queue-less ATM and the thoughtless actions that ensue.

Yesterday, I did something counterintuitive: I withdrew Bs.100 bills from an ATM machine. I couldn’t help myself: it’d been so long since I’d seen one of those without a soul-destroying line in front of it, I just had to go for it.

I should have thought this through.

Since the government announced that the Bs.100 banknote would be taken out of circulation in a mere 72 hours, the demand for the bills plummeted, and everything went extra-nuts. While people are looking for ways to get rid of them as soon as possible, many businesses have stopped accepting them altogether.

I guess I knew that…but that ATM was so sexy without lines. So first-world. You could just walk right up there and take your money out without waiting for two hours. INSERTE SU TARJETA, beckoned the screen. It was waiting for me.

As I walked off, I overheard an older guy in the neighboring ATM his wad of soon-to-be-useless Bs. 100 bills in hand, saying “Nojoda, 100? Aren’t these the ones they’re telling us to return to the bank? I just spent all morning trying to deposit mine, and now the ATM is returning them to me? El coñoesumadre!”

But that didn’t stop me, I wish it did, but… INSERTE SU TARJETA.

Now, what do I do with all this money?

Carlos Hernández

Ciudad Guayana economist moonlighting as the keyboardist of a progressive power metal band. Carlos knows how to play Truco. 4 8 15 16 23 42