Today, I pulled up to the ATM with some checks to deposit, put them into the envelope, and stuck the envelope into the machine. It made that grinding sound that it does when it's sucking in your envelope, and the envelope disappeared into the machine. But the grinding sound did not stop. The ATM screen asked if I needed more time to complete my transaction. More time? My envelope was already gone--what more did I need to do? But there was no way to communicate this to the cold, inflexible machine. It told me that my transaction was incomplete, gave me a "receipt" that in no way reflected the fact that it had just received $1000 worth of my checks, and sent me on my way with nothing.
For years, I have resisted making deposits at ATMs. I figured that if I was going to hand over my valuable negotiable instruments, I wanted some human person to see them, take them, and give me a receipt. But everyone told me I was being ridiculous. "I make ATM deposits all the time!" they said. "It works fine!" they said. Well, I've done it four times now, and one in four times it has taken my checks without giving me credit. I don't like those odds.