Would You Rather Interact With a Human or a Machine?

October 24, 2011 | By | Comments (6)

This morning on the way to work I had to stop at the bank to deposit a check. I do not—ever—deposit checks by ATM, mostly because I don’t want to learn how to do it. (I know, I know: A trained monkey could probably learn how to deposit a check in the ATM in all of 7 minutes. But I only have so much capacity to learn new things at this life stage and I’d rather, say, learn a new recipe than a new ATM feature.) So, as usual, I went to the teller.

It was definitely a Monday morning experience. First, I couldn’t find my checking account number. Second, I completely forgot to fill out a deposit slip. So I walked up to the lovely teller and just handed over my check. Really, I might as well have been trying to deposit a loaf of bread into my account. She asked me if I had filled out a deposit slip and I started to laugh at my own spaciness. “I guess it’s really Monday morning,” I said, to which she replied, “Yes. If it were Wednesday, I might not forgive you. But since it’s Monday, I’ll let you off the hook.” And then we both laughed again, wished each other a nice day, and I made my way to the office.

As I walked out of the bank I realized that maybe that was the reason I would never learn to deposit a check via ATM. If given the choice, I will always choose human interaction over machine efficiency. There are people in my household—we’ll call them “males”—who would almost always choose a machine over a human because a machine is often faster and does not try to make small talk. In fact, I live with several people who would prefer that small talk just go away altogether. (I’ll spare you the story of the time I went out to a Mexican restaurant with my husband and Eldest this summer, and got into a conversation with the hostess about how we were going to a New York Red Bulls game after dinner. Really, I thought Eldest wanted to kill me.)

You see, interacting with that bank teller put a smile on my face, put a spring in my step, made the prospect of a weekend behind me and a workweek in front of me a little brighter. I have yet to find an ATM machine that can do that for me. And I don’t think I ever will.

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