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ATM Etiquette

I’ve never seen this particular issue of etiquette pop up on your site and I’m curious about your thoughts.

The other day, I parked my car outside my bank to visit the walk up ATM on my way to work in the morning. I got in line right after another lady began her transaction. It turns out that she had several transactions and several cards that she was working with that day – she wound up in front of that ATM for 7 or 8 minutes.

Another patron in line behind me walked around to her and asked how much longer she was going to be as she had already been at the ATM for quite some time. She snottily turned around and said that it “hasn’t been 7 or 8 minutes and (he) needs to work on his patience”.

So, my question is: should there be a limit as to how many transactions are managed at the ATM? If you have many, should this lady have waited until the bank lobby was open and gone inside? I understand the purpose of the ATM is convenience for times when the bank is closed but, what gave her the right to make 3 other people wait while she conducted her business(es)?   0925-17

There are times I’ve stewed behind someone wondering why on earth they are moving like molasses to finish their business. It’s as if they are completely unaware that someone else needs to use that cashier or ATM or any other self service machinery.

The bottom line here is that banks do not limit the number of transaction a person may do at an ATM and so it is possible and probable that there will be people who conduct all their banking transactions in one stop using multiple cards. It’s as if you got in line behind 3 other people instead of 1.  The bank doesn’t see a problem with this at all.   There is no guaranteed right of customers to always have a fast, smooth transaction when that right is dependent upon the number of customers all wanting the same exact thing at the same time.

So, don’t sweat what is the “small stuff”.  Getting irked only ruins your day and doesn’t make the other person any faster.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • NostalgicGal December 7, 2017, 7:16 am

    As long as no one cuts line, foot traffic queues at the ATM just like there was a live person at the counter in the bank lobby. And they take what time they take.

    Here there are two banks and the ATM’s unfortunately are right in the wall at the drive through window, and either before or after the window. So you must stand in the drive to use them. I submitted about one hot July day where I had to walk through the drive line and I used the teller window instead of the machine; but it was the same. At that location I would have had to stop BEFORE the window to use the ATM and there is no relief in the wall so no way to step out of the traffic drive. So either way I had to walk the drive and stand between cars, to get service during the lunch hour… and this time there was a Booron in a car that was a pain, nearly ran me over and when they got to the window got denied service (they would have to wait until 1 and come in the building) for what a rude and crude they’d been in line.

    There are some banks that actually charge you for a live teller transaction (around $3) to encourage you to use the faster ATM or drive through (but they have multiple lanes and a place to step out of the way to use the ATM’s) or go online to do your banking.

  • Just4Kicks December 7, 2017, 7:24 am

    I was once behind an elderly lady, a very elderly lady.
    It was apparent she had never used an atm before, she was grumbling that the bank
    was closed and she needed to get Fluffy her food!!! I’m not joking.
    A long line was quickly forming behind me, with folks loudly complaining.
    That seemed to frustrate her and fluster her even more.
    After five minutes or so, I moved a little closer and offered my assistance, saying atms CAN be
    She looked at me and then yelled at the top of her lungs “HELP!!! Oh, someone HELP ME!!!
    I’m being ROBBED!!!”
    Of course everyone in line just stared at me and I said “NO! I am TRYING to help her….so we are all not here until New Years!!!.
    I ended up just walking back to my car, as did most of the line muttering under their breath.
    The kicker? She turned around and saw everyone walking away and said “HEY!!! I need someone to show me how this damn thing works!!!”
    That’s what I was TRYING to do!!!
    I still wonder how long she was there, and if Fluffy ever got fed that night. 🙂

    • Shalamar December 7, 2017, 10:21 am

      I was once at an ATM paying three bills and taking out some cash. The entire transaction took about 5 minutes. When I got to the third bill, I heard the guy behind me mutter “Oh, C’MON, lady!” I told that story to my friend, who said “No offense, but I’m on that guy’s side.” I said “Why? The bank was closed, I had bills to pay (this was back when paying online didn’t exist yet), and I got there first.” Friend just rolled his eyes and didn’t reply.

      • Vrinda December 11, 2017, 2:42 pm


        Your friend sounds like one of the jerks people write about on this site.

      • Christine December 20, 2017, 12:52 pm

        I think the point is, if you’re a considerate person, you do such banking when the bank is open and leave the ATM for people that need quick cash or to make a quick deposit. While other customers can’t stop a person from monopolizing the machine, we do expect people to be considerate and it is annoying when they are not. Five to ten minutes at facility that only has one machine is not.

    • Lisa December 7, 2017, 11:58 am

      I just LOL’d in my office at her reaction!

      But really, does everyone need to “loudly complain” about an old lady being confused by an ATM?

      • Just4Kicks December 8, 2017, 5:57 am

        No, they didn’t, not nice I agree.
        But, it was rush hour, 5:30 or so and I think alot of folks had just gotten off work.
        She couldve come to the bank earlier I am guessing was what they were thinking.

    • NostalgicGal December 7, 2017, 3:15 pm

      This town is full of retirees, and some are of the bent that the husband did all the financial, took care of the maintenance, and filled the cars, etc. Recently met one in her 80’s, just widowed, and at the gas pump. She had gotten out, standing next to the pump and just stood there. I stepped over to help her, and showed her a) how to get the gas flap open and the gas cap off b) how to run her credit card c) how to pump the gas and d) how to finish up. No I didn’t do it FOR her, she did have to do it herself. Wondering if the ATM lady was similar, recently on her own and trying to sort out life… hope Fluffy got fed too.

  • TracyX December 7, 2017, 7:24 am

    I disagree that it’s as if you got behind 3 people instead of 1. There is an expectation of about how long a transaction usually takes. When you pull up to the ATM and see 3 people, you can expect to be waiting about 10 minutes or so and decide if you have the time/patience for that. If you only see 1, you expect a shorter wait and make a decision based on that.

    In a perfect world, the 1st woman would have realized how long she would be and offered to let you go ahead of her when she finished with 1 card and before she started with another. Thats assuming she wasn’t in a hurry and this was the only time she could get to the bank.

  • Dominic December 7, 2017, 7:41 am

    To answer the OP’s question, “What gave her the right to make 3 other people wait while she conducted her business?”–she was there first. That’s all. Waiting in line is something usually learned early on, perhaps in kindergarten if not earlier nowadays. It may be annoying when it seems like someone is taking “too long” to transact their business, but whether it’s at the ATM or in the bank lobby waiting for the next teller, each patron may conduct their business as necessary.

    However, if I knew I had a very long transaction at the bank, I might see if the one person behind me had only a brief item to take care of if there were only one teller available. No obligation, but a nice thing to do. Just like at the grocery store I frequent, where many times there is only one checkout open, and those with a full cart will often let one or more people with just a few items each go in front of them so those people don’t have to wait.

    • Devin December 7, 2017, 2:14 pm

      If you are waiting your turn with a large cart full of groceries the courteous thing to do is to let the person with one or few items to go ahead. Once the cashier starts to ring you up, you don’t stop mid ring up and let the person behind you go. this person was already mid transaction when the OP arrived. They might have been loading up multiple pre-paid cards from a business account or transferring funds from account to account (checking to savings, money market to mortgage, shared account to individual account) so stopping mid transaction wouldn’t be possible. if the bank doesn’t set a limit on ATM transactions then you wait however long, or decide to come back later when the inside tellers are open.

    • Miss-E December 8, 2017, 6:25 am

      I agree with Devin and I’ll add this: OP stated there were 3 people behind her, is this woman supposed to step aside and let everyone use the ATM first because she may be awhile? You may let someone jump ahead of you at the grocery store but you wouldn’t do that for the entire line.

    • Lou December 8, 2017, 11:30 am

      I was waiting in a queue the other day at a store picking up my Christmas presents I had on hold, I’d been waiting for around 15 minutes when a man stood in line behind me. After around 5 minutes I finally got to the front of the line and the staff member goes into the back to get the things I’d put on hold and organise parcel pick up. The man behind me starts huffing and puffing about waiting in line, then he starts cursing because he’s had to wait in line.

      A woman down in the line yelled out “That little kid is behaving better than you are.” which made the entire line crack up and the man shuffle off with his head down. The funny thing was it was true, my 3 year old hadn’t thrown a tantrum but this grown man was.

  • Vermin8 December 7, 2017, 7:46 am

    Years ago, I drove up to the drive thru ATM and there was a young man and an older woman (probably grandmother) ahead of me. The transaction was going on and on with him talking most of the time.
    I’m guessing at the conversation:
    “Hit that button, Grandma”
    “This one?” (punch)
    “no, not that one, start over.”

    “OK, now hit this one if you want to get cash”
    “this one ” (punch cancel),
    “No, grandma, that’s not it. Start over”.

    They finally finished and walked right by my car. He looked right at me with a sheepish, apologetic grin on his face.
    I gave him a thumbs up. He was a good grandson.

    • BellyJean December 7, 2017, 8:43 am

      Agreed! Very good grandson. 🙂 And he was taking the time to teach her, instead of just doing it for her, so hopefully she can do it on her own.
      Thank you for letting them take their time, Vermin8.

      • Just4Kicks December 9, 2017, 2:45 am

        Very nice, indeed! What a nice young man.

        I worked for about a year at a very small gas station/ convienece store.
        BEcause tie was so small, there was usually only one employee at a time.
        I encountered a fair amount of older folks who demanded that I come outside to help them figure out how to pump their gas.
        I always explained nicely (at first) that I wasn’t allowed to leave the store unattended, which got me yelled at by said person.
        “Oh come on! It’ll just take a MINUTE, GET your lazy ass out here and HELP ME NOW!!!”
        If my manager happens by, I will get fired! I can’t come show you, I’m very sorry.”

        • Just4Kicks December 9, 2017, 2:46 am

          ***Because the store was so small…..that should say

        • NostalgicGal December 9, 2017, 3:38 pm

          Some states it’s required they have someone to pump gas. I was recently in one of those states, was on way back to airport and had to fill my rental car. I pulled off at a very small gas station and got out and figured out how to get the gas flap open, and an older fellow showed to pump for me. I remembered this was a full serve state, and left the fellow to do that part for me and went in to pay.

          Also some years back most every station was full serve (and they’d come pump your gas). Then came the full serve/self serve. One side was labeled full serve, and they’d pump and it cost you a few more cents a gallon, or self serve, and you pumped your own.

          If you were in a place where a lot of stations were still full serve or had the double option (full or self) you could have had a LOT of irate people that expected full serve and ignored the signs. I do hope there were signs out that said SELF SERVE…

          • Just4Kicks December 12, 2017, 6:40 am

            When I worked at a small gas station, equipped with many “self serve only” signs, I had a few crabby old folks who told me to “Get your fat, lazy ass out here and pump my gas, NOW!!!”
            Wow! In addition to getting fired if I leave the register, you’re calling me fat and lazy?!?
            Let me help you right now, Sir/Madam!!!

          • NostalgicGal December 12, 2017, 8:50 pm

            Yep. Being a crab-a** isn’t going to get you any further along. Only thing comparable was the stuff I had to take, be nice, and smile through when doing custom jewelry. I learned to have a REALLY thick skin because they were holding the wallet that paid my bills. Sometimes a nice therapeutic session out on the anvil making copper bracelets was the only thing to hang onto what sanity I had… (getting to beat something metal half to death for the sake of art, yeah yeah yeah)

  • essie December 7, 2017, 8:03 am

    On the other hand, I received a message from my office’s Security Section about this:

    A cashier spotted a person acting suspiciously and loitering around the ATM in her store and immediately called the police, who conducted discreet surveillance before approaching the suspect. While speaking with him, officers discovered a large sum of cash and many blank credit cards and arrested him. His car held tens of thousands in cash and several hundred blank credit cards. The suspect had all of the [skimmer] equipment needed to steal debit card numbers and pin numbers and to create debit cards using the stolen information.

    Rumor Control says some of the “suspicious activity” was that he was using (or holding) a lot of cards.

    • Harry December 7, 2017, 11:23 am

      Thank you for this. Someone got ahold of my ATM account number and PIN; how I don’t know as the PIN number lives inside my head but lo and behold, suddenly there were several transactions from my account in a city about 100 miles from me. The bank teller said that most common is skimmers at gas stations, but also not unheard of at outdoor bank ATM’s… so….. not sure how to apply this to the OP’s post, but it’s something to consider.

      • LadyV December 8, 2017, 9:20 am

        Harry, I have you beat – my debit card number was stolen and I ended up having things charged to the account in both Florida (2000 miles away) and Ukraine (many, MANY miles away). Thankfully the people at my bank were able to fix the situation VERY quickly!

        • NostalgicGal December 9, 2017, 4:06 pm

          About a year and a half ago, I was out on errands and get a text from my credit card that a $3 charge was made to this Russian Dating Site. I said no it’s not mine and they locked down the account and immediately filed a chargeback for me. This was within five minutes of the first charge. With the account locked they proceeded to try to send $400 three times to this dating site and it bounced. That was the first ten minutes. Then over the next hour they tried to buy wigs, beauty supplies (hair goods) and one big huge order to this expensive clothing boutique.

          They were traced near Moscow and apparently shut down. How they got the card number, it hadn’t been used in a machine for four months… must have been online. New card number and things have been good…

      • essie December 8, 2017, 9:36 am

        The OP said the woman was working with “several cards”, that’s what brought it to my mind.

        I know what situations I’ll need cash for each paycheck and I’ll go to the bank and get enough cash to cover all of them, in the necessary denominations. I use debit/credit cards for everything else, so when I buy groceries, I’ll get cash back for “pocket money” and to cover unexpected situations. If I want to transfer money between accounts, I’ll do it online or use the automated service over the telephone. Since nearly every business “takes plastic” now, I really don’t have a need to use ATM’s to get cash any more. My son does, though, but since the bank checks their ATM daily, it’s pretty safe, especially early in the evening.

        Both DH and I were “skimmed” last year, but we think we’ve figured out where, so we simply don’t use that gas station anymore (wondered why the gas was so cheap!) and have had no problems since. We’ve also learned what to look for, so a few months ago, when our usual gas station changed it’s pumps, we were all over it!

    • NostalgicGal December 7, 2017, 11:38 pm

      I met one at an urban grocery store… the ATM was a little different. The card reader slot now had a part that stuck out from the machine body to run the card through, and right at the side of the machine (90 degrees to the keypad) was a flyer holder with a couple of flyers in it. I didn’t like the look of this and nearby the lead cashier was at the ‘monitor station’ and asked him to call the police. I had shopped there many a time and was a familiar customer and convinced him that something was weird with the ATM. I talked to the officers and they looked it over and found that the flyer holder had a small camera in it! Facing the keypad. About a week later the newspaper ran a full page about skimmers and what to look for, in a modified ATM. Your card will not work in it, but it will be scanned to skim your number and the camera will record as you enter your pin. This was in the mid 1990’s.

      Lately it is said some have been able to get at gas pumps and add skimmer stuff to them as well. If your card doesn’t seem to work, and it should, get it to print a receipt if you can, go in, and alert the staff. And call your card immediately.

      One other, is an infrared reader that looks like a battery backup pack cellphone case. You go through the register, swipe your card, and key on the pad. It can read the warmth of your fingerprints and the dimmest is the first number and the brightest is the last… and lift your data that way. Pay attention.

      The last one takes two, the cashier and the friend. The friend gets behind you in line because you have a cartful, and when you run your card the cashier very quickly keys cashback and doesn’t hand it to you, just your receipt folded up. The register has to balance so the friend is next to buy something small and the cashier will hand them the cashback. Pause for a second and look at the bottom of your receipt before moving. If you have a cashback notation and didn’t ask for it and didn’t get handed money. YELL. And take a picture of the persons behind you in line. Yell for the MANAGER or SECURITY right there.

  • Zhaleh December 7, 2017, 8:06 am

    I sort of want to say, you could just go to another ATM. But I expect this must be a smaller town.
    In my city, there are multiple ATMs for multiple banks and even if you want to use one from your specific bank, especially if you are driving, there will be one with in a few minutes reach.

    I can see this being annoying but what give OP the right to expect everyone else to put a time limit on the use of a machine meant for the public? The idea that ATMs are only meant for one transaction is a made up one.

    So I don’t think this woman walked up to the ATM thinking, I have the right to make three people wait. I mean was she about to use the machine and then turn around and say “You and you and you! Line up behind me and wait!”

    She probably just thought, I’ll stop by the ATM and get all of this done at once. What others do with their own time is their own business.

    But was there seriously no other option? Not another ATM within a reasonable distance?

    • Dee December 7, 2017, 11:34 am

      Yeah, I’m confused as to what OP thought the woman should do instead. She obviously didn’t want or couldn’t actually go to a teller during banking hours, so she’s using the ATM instead, as she’s supposed to do. If she has that much banking to do then what does OP propose she do with it? Make several trips in the same day to space out the transactions? Come back each day of the week? It all seems so ridiculous when the alternatives are examined. This woman had banking to do; she was doing it as it is allowed; she has a life, just like the others who are waiting, so she is perfectly in her rights to get it done as quickly as possible, same as anyone else.

      OP, if you don’t like waiting at an ATM then go at a time when there won’t be anyone else there. Or do it all online. You have options too, so exercise those before trying to control what others do.

    • Calli Arcale December 7, 2017, 1:25 pm

      I’m in a big city, and my bank has many locations, with ATMs also in a particular common chain of gas stations. But if I’m already in line when I discover this situation, I’m probably not going to go drive to another one. It’ll be several stoplights, with heavy traffic most of the time, and no guarantee I wouldn’t end up in an even longer line at the next one. If it’s under ten minutes, it really wouldn’t be worth going to a different ATM.

    • NostalgicGal December 7, 2017, 3:20 pm

      In my town there are two banks. There are four ATM’s. One at each bank and one at each gas station. The ATM’s at the gas stations charge a pretty hefty fee and one station is not open 24/7 (the other is a truck stop)-and are pretty much only for withdrawing cash from a source. And after a long holiday weekend all four ATM’s may be out of cash long before the next business day. And the distance between the banks and the other two are half a mile and a mile point one, respectively.

    • Rebecca December 8, 2017, 12:55 am

      In my city, yes there are lots of ATMs, but parking and traffic could be an issue and if I’ve already parked, going to another place could be a huge hassle, especially on my way to work with limited time. I think there is no hard and fast rule as to how long one should take at the ATM, but 7-8 minutes does seem excessive and if it were me with the long, complicated transactions, I would probably let the people behind me in line go ahead between my transactions, saying, “I’m going to be a while so go ahead.” I’ve sometimes done multiple transactions at an ATM using different cards and it still doesn’t take that long.

  • Susan. Haverland December 7, 2017, 8:11 am

    If I am in a hurry. I think after that long yes I would say something. Anyone wonder if she had fraudulent cards . Who takes 8 different cards to withdraw money
    . Maybe that is why she did not go inside the bank .

    • Princess Buttercup December 7, 2017, 11:24 am

      It doesn’t say the number of cards she has, just that it was “several”.
      My adult siblings all live with our mother. Sometimes one or more of the four adults in the house are unable to go out, so they’ll send one person with their info and instructions on what they need done.
      Health issues, schedule, etc can lead to people needing to help each other out.

    • NostalgicGal December 7, 2017, 3:22 pm

      I’ve taken five, just before a trip. Two debit cards and three credit cards. And withdrew cash across all of them. I own them and they are indeed my legitimate cards for legitimate accounts.

  • Just4Kicks December 7, 2017, 8:14 am

    My daughter just reminded me of one time she was four or so and we were using an atm.
    Right behind us was a lady with her son who was about the same age.
    As I put in my PIN number, the kid behind me (who apparently was just learning his numbers) yelled excitedly “4-7-3-3!!! 4733, MAMA! That lady’s numbers are 4733!!!”
    My daughter turned to him and said “Shush!!! Those are the SECRET NUMBERS!!!”

    • Wild Irish Rose December 7, 2017, 9:04 am

      That’s hilarious!

    • Mustard December 7, 2017, 11:52 am

      I have mentioned this before, but a few years ago my daughter was dealing with a complaint from a bank customer who said he couldn’t get any money from the ATM because the bank was being re-decorated. She was baffled; she said that she didn’t think that the bank would make the machine inaccessible, had he asked a bank employee for help? etc etc. Turned out he couldn’t get any money because the bank had had the wall next to the ATM re-painted so now he couldn’t see his PIN…. that he scribbled on the wall…

      • NostalgicGal December 8, 2017, 12:43 pm

        though… at the post office on the side counter was the two thick phonebook sized books of all zip codes in the US. I was mailing payments to someone and couldn’t remember that zip code for the life of me, and looking it up was seriously painful. So in the first few pages of the top book (before they got to the listings) I wrote the zip code. Just five digits. Then when I went to mail the payment I could flip open to find my number… They do warn about do NOT choose something like all one digit (1111, 2222, etc) or ascending or descending (1234, 9876) for your pin. You would be surprised how many use something like 1234…

    • Rebecca December 8, 2017, 12:56 am

      Sounds like they were standing too close behind, which I also find rude. The mother of that kid should have corrected him and told him to stand back and mind his own business.

      • Just4Kicks December 8, 2017, 4:45 am

        Yeah, I gave the mom the raised eyebrow, and she gave me a dirty look and yanked her kid back.

  • T-Belle December 7, 2017, 8:15 am

    I agree with the Admin, to not sweat the small stuff, for those waits happen as well inside the bank. I was waiting in my bank once with a bunch of others in the queue for one of four machines when a woman seemed about done with her business, as taking a step away, only to move back in front of the ATM for yet something else.

    You sigh, shuffle from one foot to the other and think of more pleasant things.

    • staceyizme December 7, 2017, 9:04 am

      Exactly! Lined up at an in-store branch of my bank last Saturday morning behind about 6 other people with 4 tellers serving. It took quite awhile because some folks in line were getting new cards for existing accounts, opening business accounts and depositing multiple checks. This all requires a lot of back and forth from desk to counter and back for the tellers and longer waits for the customers. At no time did a customer say “hey, can you hurry it up there? you’re taking WAY too long…”. If we understand that dealing with transactions can take time in person, we know that the same is surely true of machines. Take a few deep breaths, the line will move… eventually.

    • Zhaleh December 7, 2017, 10:16 am

      Yes! Sigh and think of England! 🙂

    • lakey December 7, 2017, 11:25 am

      The lovely thing about smart phones is you can play Solitaire while you wait, or check email, or listen to music, or read a book.

  • Victoria December 7, 2017, 8:52 am

    I’m reminded of the time I was a bank teller. It was a small branch office, with three tellers at the counter and one in the drive thru. We had two tellers working the lobby (one at lunch), about four people in line, and two at the counter. Both customers at the counter had large amounts of cash that were being deposited. One of the four people in line kept huffing loudly, rolling his eyes, looking at his watch, and muttering under his breath. After four minutes of waiting, he loudly exclaimed “Why is this taking so long! This is supposed to be fast, like fast food!”.

    The customer I was waiting on turned around and said “You’re not at a fast food joint, do you want the tellers to go too fast and miscount your money? Calm down, you’ve been here less than five minutes.”

    The guy kept huffing and muttering. When it was his turn he came up and handed me his transaction, and complained that we only had two tellers at lunchtime. I told him we only had three teller machines, and said the third person was at lunch. He complained that someone was allowed to go to lunch on a busy day, and I just gave him a confused look, and said “We are people, we do need to eat. We only go one person at a time. My lunch won’t be until 2:30 and I’ve been here since 7:30.”

    He stopped complaining, and every time he came in after that, he brought a book to read in line.

    • Just4Kicks December 8, 2017, 5:35 am

      He brought a book?!?
      Good Lord.

      If I was you and had the permission to do so, I would wait until he walked up to your counter and look at the clock and say “Oh My! Time for my break….someone else will be happy to help you!”

      • Rattus December 8, 2017, 9:46 am

        Sorry, but I really don’t understand the issue you have with his reading in line. I read in line. It is far preferable to standing there, staring blankly at the people ahead of me, silently willing them to move faster.

        • Vrinda December 12, 2017, 3:42 pm

          Rattus, why even say you’re sorry when you’re not? I don’t see why Just4Kicks can’t express her exasperation with a man who was rude and bossy about having to wait in line bringing a book with him while he waited. I doubt the waiting time was that long. He was being passive aggressive.

      • NostalgicGal December 8, 2017, 12:45 pm

        What’s the difference between a book and your phone? At least he brought something to keep himself quiet and entertained while he waited.

        • Just4Kicks December 9, 2017, 1:52 pm

          I apologize about the book comment. 🙂

          My cynical way of thinking was that this customer brought the book in a passive-agressive
          move directed at the tellers who in his opinion take too long.
          My apologies.

          • NostalgicGal December 10, 2017, 9:06 am

            No real problem. 🙂 At least the dude took care of entertaining himself in line so he stayed quiet….!

          • Victoria December 11, 2017, 8:33 am

            It was passive aggressive. He made sure we all knew that he brought a book because he had to wait SUCH a long time. The was loud page turning, and plenty of glares to go with it, and when he made it to the front of the line, there was an announcement of how many pages he read while he was in line.

            Ah well, at least he was reading.

  • staceyizme December 7, 2017, 8:56 am

    Getting in line is always unpredictable whether you’re waiting to buy coffee, fast food or conduct business. And “no, Virginia”, you definitely do NOT have a right to require that the person in front of you limit their transactions. Theoretically, there are other ATM machines available (just as there are other coffee shops and other restaurants available when you are driving through for other products and services. The person asking about her time should not have been monitoring her time in line because it is quite simply none of his business. For all he knew, the ATM was malfunctioning or the cards that she was working with weren’t easily accessed from that ATM and she really couldn’t help the amount of time. We only get to ask “how long will that be” when we’re being served one on one by a vendor in our own home and based on a prearranged amount of time for the appointment through the company. In almost all other cases, there is no guarantee of speed.

  • Wild Irish Rose December 7, 2017, 9:04 am

    I use the drive-up ATM at various branches of my bank. When there is someone ahead of me, I always stop a good distance behind that person so he/she doesn’t feel crowded. I try to make it obvious that I’m in line, but people have driven around me to be next, which I think is WAAAAAAAY more rude than using more than one card to make transactions.

    That said, had I been the lady with multiple cards/transactions, I would have offered to let people go ahead of me, like I do at the supermarket when I have a full basket and the person behind me has six items. But waiting in line is a fact of life no matter where you are or what you’re doing. Patience is a virtue and it’s not that hard to cultivate. 🙂

  • Marie December 7, 2017, 10:08 am

    Was it annoying? YES
    Was she within her rights? YES
    Should the lady have offered the people waiting to go first? NO

    Why not? It’s simple: she was there first. She had more business, but she wasn’t holding up the line because she was stalling. She was simply doing her business, as is her right. It’s just bad luck she had more business than most.

    • Just4Kicks December 8, 2017, 5:52 am

      As far as letting folks go in front of you, I once ran into the grocery store to pick up maybe ten or so items.
      There was a gentlemen behind me who only had one item.
      I told him he was welcome to go ahead of me.
      He did, and then engaged me in the weirdest conversation.
      (To be fair, he seemed homeless and not right mentally…..both of which were confirmed by the cashier once he paid and left.)
      “Oh thank you, Miss! I appreciate your kindness. So…what do you think of this “N- word” in the
      White House?!? Its all fine, I guess, since the stupid country voted him in! I told my daughter’s, just because there is one of THOSE trying to run the country, doesn’t mean they have permission to date a” N-word”!!!”
      (My sincere apologies for the use of that disgusting word, that’s what this man said, but I don’t want to offend any posters)
      “You’re a white woman …..I bet you told your kids the same thing!!!”
      Oh, my God.
      “Actually….I voted for President Obama and I think he is doing a great job so far! My kids may date anyone they choose, as long as that person treats them nicely. Uh, have a good day.”

      Everyone in line behind me ran to other cashiers, and the cashier helping this man just froze in horror.
      The manager stopped me on the way out and apologized and said he says stuff like that all the time, we just try to ignore him and get him the hell out of here!

    • Miss-E December 8, 2017, 6:35 am

      I agree and I mentioned this somewhere above but where do you draw the line? There were 3 peo0le behind her, is she supposed to let them all go? Plus, at a grocery store it’s easy to see that someone only has a few items (although I’ve heard of people being tricked this way) how do you know how long someone else will take at an ATM?

      • klb4n6 December 14, 2017, 8:02 am

        So true. I swear, every time I let someone go in line in front of me because they have one item, or if I chose a short line with just one person instead of a longer one, that person is ALWAYS buying cigarettes and it takes forever for the clerk to find the right box. Never fails, if I’m in any hurry at all, the person in front of me will be buying cigarettes (this is at a local convenience store I frequent).

  • lakey December 7, 2017, 11:05 am

    The banks in my area do have signs up telling people to limit the number of transactions. I believe there is a limit of two. Also, I haven’t seen a walk up ATM outdoors in years. They are considered a bit unsafe. I don’t think you should approach someone who is at a walk up ATM.

    In my opinion there is a difference between what you are allowed to do and what you should do. If there is no limit on the number of transactions that you are allowed at an ATM, it is still inconsiderate to do several transactions when there are other people waiting.

  • PJ December 7, 2017, 11:17 am

    I agree with Admin: if the bank doesn’t impose some limit on the number of transactions, then a customer can take care of all their business in one trip to the ATM. They “get” to make the others wait because they were there first.

    It is just a fact of life that living around other people can be inconvenient. This is one of many examples!

  • Princess Buttercup December 7, 2017, 11:19 am

    I get not liking to wait in line but she has every right to use the ATM. You do not have more rights to the ATM than she does. And who is to say that she could wait till the bank opened to go inside. You are not the only one with a schedule and places to be.

    One of the nice things about smart phones is it gives us something to do when we have to wait. So instead of fuming that other people exist in the world, pull out your phone and busy yourself.
    And if being late to work was your worry, than that falls under “lack of planning on your part doesn’t constitute an emergency on my part”. Always leave earlier than you think you need to, so as to avoid stress.

  • giani siri December 7, 2017, 11:56 am

    There’s something underpinning this conflict: Banks put in ATMs not so much for the benefit of customers but to reduce the number of human beings with both number and people skills that they have to employ and pay. Early on in the introduction of ATMs Citibank wanted to impose a surcharge if you had a transaction that you could have done at an ATM but you chose to visit a real live bank teller. They even removed every chair from their branch lobbies. It’s because financial institutions want to run their operations with the minimum number of humans with etiquette and number skills that we are left outside their branches to get into conflicts over access to their machines.

  • Tmichele December 7, 2017, 12:46 pm

    This reminds me of the time I was getting gas at our grocery store. I was using gift cards that came in increments of $10. I needed to use 4 to fill up. I had to use one, place the handle back and begin the payment process anew each time I finished a gift card. It was cumbersome but I didn’t have the money to fill up at the time and I had saved these gift cards for emergency instances like this.

    That particular day there was a long line at all of the pumps. I was on my 4th gift card, just $1.00 or so away from finishing and driving away when the guy behind me yelled, “Hey lady are you *%}]%^+ done yet??”. I knew if he had just waited another 30 seconds I, in fact would have been done. He didn’t know that though. I held up my pile of gift cards and shrugged my shoulders. He peeled away and went over to the pump 3 lanes over by the exit that had a line of cars 5 deep. Moments later I drove by him waving and smiling.

    I never said a word, but I got plenty of revenge. ??

  • sandisadie December 7, 2017, 12:47 pm

    Everybody has to wait on a line sometimes. I’ve had to wait many times inside a bank for a teller. In my current situation I do all my banking online if I can. The few times I’ve gone to the only branch within miles of my house I’ve had to wait. Several times it was because someone from a business was doing the deposit and such for that business and only one teller window was open so we all had to wait and wait. I don’t think banks really care how much you have to wait. When I want cash I get it at my local Walmart.

  • kingsrings December 7, 2017, 1:02 pm

    To me, ATM’s, restaurant drive-thru’s, Red Box, etc., are for quick, convenient transactions. That is what they’re made for. It’s inconsiderate and rude to use them for longer transactions if there are others waiting. If you have a long transaction, go into the bank or restaurant to do your business or wait until the line is clear.

    • ZarinC December 8, 2017, 11:14 pm

      Yes! Finally, someone else who agrees that ATMs are for quick transactions only. If I go to the bank outside of business hours, I expect a line and a wait at the ATM. But during business hours? If you have more than a simple withdrawal/deposit, you should go inside.

      Honestly, I feel the same way about drive-throughs. Ordering more than $25 of food? Go inside. Everyone is in the drive through because they want to get food quickly and get on their way.

  • Ernie December 7, 2017, 1:23 pm

    I appreciate people who are patient, but there are limits. I encourage everyone to set a timer for eight minutes and wait it out to see how long that really is. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but it really is an excessive amount of time to use an ATM. The other issue here is that maybe the lady doing the long transaction knows she will only be a couple more minutes, but no one else does. What if she has 25 or 30 minutes of transactions? At some point, I think the onus was on her to turn around and give an approximate wait time, or let the others go ahead. If I was behind someone and I knew it was only going to be a few more minutes I’d wait, but if it was going to be a lot longer, I wouldn’t. To me, this is a case of “you know what you’re doing, but I don’t”, and since she was outside the norm here, she should have been more polite. We need to remember in life that other people exist who don’t know our own schedules and motivations.

  • rindlrad December 7, 2017, 1:36 pm

    I feel for your annoyance as I always seem to get behind this person no matter what line I’m in. I try to look at it as an opportunity to store up good karma for a time when I might need someone to have a patience while waiting for me.

    I used to have a roommate who would make up crazy stories about the people around us in line. It actually made waiting in line a lot of fun. Maybe the lady at the ATM was on the run from an ex-lover and she was trying to pull together all the cash she could so she could run away to Canada where she planned to meet up with her childhood sweetheart, who is in the Canadian Mounted Police, and will live happily ever after if she can just get a few more bucks from her stupid Visa card.

  • NightSky December 7, 2017, 1:37 pm

    yes, sorry but we all get “stuck behind” someone at some point who is taking a while for whatever reason. And sometimes we are the one who takes awhile. It can be frustrating if you’re in a hurry, but that’s life and it isn’t worth getting upset over. On a side not, I never let anyone cut ahead of me anymore, due to having done so in the past thinking they would be faster for whatever reason…less items, etc., only to have them need other things that end up taking way longer than I thought it would.

  • jokergirl129 December 7, 2017, 2:07 pm

    I know it can be annoying to wait a while especially since when people normally use ATMs it only takes a few minutes to get everything done. But sometimes people take a little longer and if she was there first there isn’t much you can do. You just have to wait until she finishes up, find another ATM or come back later on in the day.

  • Caverat December 7, 2017, 2:07 pm

    I’d be a lot more bothered by the person who interrupted me while I was conducting private business at the ATM. Who does that? I was tAught as a child that you stop a certain distance away and stay there. Sure waiting is a pain, but walking right up to someone dealing with their bank account, feasibly seeing their PIN is far, far ruder.

  • GreenOne December 7, 2017, 2:09 pm

    I think that while it’s unfortunate the woman was taking so long, that’s just something that happens and she wasn’t wrong in doing multiple transactions. However I also think that it was completely fair and reasonable of the person behind her to ask how much longer she would be, and she should have simply answered with how much longer and no snark. Everyone is trying to manage their time, and if she’s going to be there another 30 minutes, the people behind her may decide to go elsewhere or come back another time. Someone might have all the patience in the world and still not have 30 minutes available to wait in line that particular day.

  • Mrsclaus December 7, 2017, 2:56 pm

    I was at the self serve grocery line. I wasn’t slow, I was moving at a brisk pace, and then you got to bag. But behind me was a couple with only a couple of things, making noises, making faces…..everything they could to get me to hurry. I was NOT in the 12 items or less lane….i couldn’t help how long it took, it took what it took. That’s the one thing in a self serve lane…..the people who queue up behind me and act all entitled because of the time I’m taking.

  • Tanya December 7, 2017, 3:33 pm

    I think it’s the same as a supermarket. I come across this kind of scenario reasonably often; the self service checkouts are full and have huge lines, whereas the ones with operators do not. However, I’m buying a couple of things and the person in front of me has a trolley full. Where it would be nice for them to offer to let me go first they’re under no obligation to do so, and I can’t expect it.

    Any time you need to queue there is a chance the person in front of you may take longer than necessary. It’s inconvenient, but it’s life, and they do not need to hurry on your account. I understand how frustrating it can be (oh do I ever!) but really, it’s small potatoes in the great scheme of things.

  • Kelly Taylor December 7, 2017, 4:42 pm

    Sure, it’s annoying.

    However, another person (especially a man, per this story) approaching someone in the middle of an ATM transaction? That is actually a threatening situation.

  • Lin December 7, 2017, 6:33 pm

    Upon reading the title, I somehow expected this to be about cleanliness! (How silly of me.) Am I the only person who, when going to an ATM, brings a tissue with me to wrap around my finger?

    • LadyV December 8, 2017, 9:36 am

      I think it would be great if the banks could follow the example of the supermarkets and put a wet wipe dispenser near the ATMS!

    • Just4Kicks December 8, 2017, 7:23 pm

      I was behind a lady who had a very bad cold and no tissues.
      She kept wiping he nose and coughing into the same hand she was pushing the buttons with.
      I dug in my bag and handed her a purse pack full of kleenex and gave them to her.
      She thanked me politely…..then shoved them in her coat pocket and kept right on wiping and pushing buttons.
      Sigh. I tried!

    • Rebecca December 9, 2017, 3:50 am

      If you’re doing it, I imagine there are others doing that too. Me, I don’t bother, because I’m about to go about my day touching all kinds of other things in public and my routine is to wash my hands when I get home (and after using the bathroom or cleaning up after pets or handling raw meat, etc) and this system of doing the basics and not worrying about the rest seems to have kept me alive and disease-free this long.

  • iwadasn December 7, 2017, 9:23 pm

    Some transactions just take longer than others. It’s like getting in line at the grocery checkout; some people have one or two items and some people have an overflowing cart. Both have an equal right to complete their entire transactions, regardless of how many people are behind them.

  • Rebecca December 8, 2017, 1:09 am

    The woman technically had every right to take as long as she needed at the ATM. However, if it were me, recognizing that most people just need a quick transaction, I’d have told the people behind to go ahead and I’d continue what I was doing afterwards. The bit about “learning patience” really irks me. The OP said it was in the morning before work. I bet all those people in line were on their way to work. If I have to get to work, patience does not really factor into my reasons for needing the line to move. It’s more like, my boss/clients/customers/coworkers expect me to arrive at a certain time. If I need to go to the ATM I am not really expecting one person to hold up the process for nearly 10 minutes. Yes, sure, someone’s going to say, “Well plan it better so you can get to the ATM some time when you don’t need to be anywhere else” and to them I say, must be nice not to have any other obligations in life and what an interesting assumption , maybe my kid was sick or my dad fell again and I was on the phone to the care home and my daughter’s school still wants me to have the $20 in cash by noon today for that luncheon, and I didn’t get to the ATM yesterday due to that client crisis last night that kept me at work till 8 PM while the kids and old people waited at home for dinner….

    So yeah, during the morning rush hour if I had all the time in the world to conduct 8 different transactions, I’d probably let the others go first.

    • Miss-E December 8, 2017, 6:56 am

      The problem with this situation is that there is no way of knowing how long someone else will take at an ATM, unlike at a grocery store where I can see you holding a single bottle of oil to my weeks worth of groceries. And what constitutes a long transaction likely varies person to person, so I may let someone cut in front of me since I’m expecting to take 10 minutes…only to wait 10 minutes myself.

      It’s funny that you mention all the scenarios that could keep a person for getting to the ATM early without giving this woman the same break. Maybe she’s in a hurry, maybe she’s moving money around so she can rush to the airport and hop the first flight to St Paul to bid goodbye to great uncle Remus on his deathbed. We’ll never know and we don’t really have the right to. She wasn’t breaking any rules or laws, she was using the ATM for its intended purpose; sometimes we just have to wait a few minutes in life.

  • Rinme December 8, 2017, 11:14 am

    It’s exactly the same as if she was at the teller. If you think about it, it’s the same situation exactly. Sucks to wait, but she does have the right to finish all her business.

  • NostalgicGal December 8, 2017, 1:13 pm

    We can have similar issues at the pay kiosk at the grocery store. There are several local utilities and other businesses that are set up through the kiosk to let you pay your bill with them there (it takes cash, checks, credit cards, and debit cards). Once in a while it is messed up and once in a while it’s ‘full’ (will not accept any more cash) so you have to use another form of payment (it scans everything else). If you had everything just right you could pay close to ten bills through that kiosk. At times it can be quite a line to get your turn. Also half the time the touch screen looks like something crawled up there and died on it, I usually bring a towelette to wipe it off first. An encouragement for everyone to use that kiosk is that your bill is credited as being paid immediately. When in that line, you just have to wait your turn as someone punches through making their payment (I can vouch, one payment can take five minutes). If they have multiples, well, go take a shopping cart, get your groceries, come back.

  • viviennebzb December 8, 2017, 2:53 pm

    I totally agree with this. While I would love it as much as anyone else if the world were suddenly to part before me everywhere I went, never having to wait or be inconvenienced, it’s just not a reasonable expectation. You wait, quietly and politely, for your turn. Perhaps use the time to contemplate getting over yourself.

  • Rebecca December 9, 2017, 3:55 am

    True enough. She doesn’t have to let others go ahead of her. I just think it’s a nice thing to do if your transaction is going to take significantly longer than what is usual.

    And also true that I’ve been burned myself, letting someone go ahead in the grocery store because they only had one or two items, only to find they have a large unsorted pile of coupons, want to argue about the price because they picked the wrong product that didn’t match the coupon, and then send the cashier away to get cigarettes from the locked cabinet across the store, for which they must call management to come with the key, and then need a price check because they saw “$2.99” on the shelf and assumed it applied to some other random item they picked up.

    • NostalgicGal December 10, 2017, 9:09 am

      Our local store is legendary on mismarked shelf prices, so if I think there will be a problem I take a picture of the shelf tag with item in view. Then if there’s a question, show them the picture I just took… it saves time as I go through. They can dispatch the bagger to check or deal but they can keep ringing then. (usually the bagger fixes the shelf tagging)

  • Sarah Gross December 10, 2017, 7:13 am

    |Saying someone needs to learn patience is rude. Not your job to teach people anything!

  • sillyme December 22, 2017, 12:36 pm

    The problem I encounter is people who monopolize cashiers or retail salespeople. I want to be a more patient person, but sometimes I’m going to the store after work, or it’s the last stop in a long day and I’m dog-tired and in back or leg pain. Or, I’m in-between places I have to be.

    What I don’t appreciate is waiting while the (usually) elderly person has prolonged personal interactions. Not business, and in excess of pleasantries, and exchanges that delay finishing the transaction. I understand that perhaps they are lonely for social interaction, but that doesn’t make it less rude. Sometimes you can tell the cashier/salesperson and customer know each other socially. Other times it seems the cashier/salesperson is a bit of a hostage: they have to be polite, but they know they need to get back to work, but they are not in a position to excuse themselves.

    For me, part of etiquette and courtesy is handling oneself so that social interactions for everyone around you run as smoothly as possible. So, I’m of the opinion that while that person had the *right* to use that ATM as long as s/he needed, once a line formed, a little thoughtfulness and courtesy would have caused him/her to accomodate the other people with a compromise. People are on lunch breaks, have to be at jobs with hard start times, pick up children from daycares (which charge if you’re late), etc. Yes, she had the right, but the time she was spending was not her own, and it wasn’t a luxury everyone had to waste on her.