Monday, December 12, 2005

How much do you get at the ATM?

My last job in the States was as Customer Service Manager for a branch of a bank... in America. I tend to notice things with which I am familiar. I notice when the Bankomats (ATM’s) are filled. People stand outside the supermarket waiting as three guards fill the machine. I will not post the details of the security procedure that I witnessed. I do not think that would be wise. I did notice certain steps that were like what we did when we filled our machines at the bank in the grocery store that I managed in Southern California. I was second in line to use the machine when they finished. I chose to wait inside and not out and that gave me a bird's eye view of what was going on. There was a cute little old woman ahead of me who was having a hard time getting the machine to work. She tried 700 rubles. Then she tried 500. I was going to step up and help her but I was still trying to translate the screen! She turned to a woman on the side of us and asked for help. They checked her balance, which is where I would have started! She did have more than enough. Can you tell there is no privacy here? Finally, they got her to a screen that showed the amounts that her card would allow. Her choices were 100 or 200 rubles. She chose 200. This little woman walked away with about 7 dollars. I hope she can eat. I hope that is enough for whatever she needed.
I had to withdraw 2000 rubles. I needed money for a new internet card (520 rubles) and Spencer’s glaucoma medicine (795 rubles) the rest was for our bus passes for December. I cannot imagine what small amounts others have to live on. I know that we have learned to be content with what we have and to make do with less. My bankcard gives me access to larger amounts than hers did. My choices onscreen went up to 5000 rubles. Alternatively, I could choose another amount not offered on the screen. I have done it before with success. Tom and I pray for the people here around us. We pray for them to find work when they need it and we are seeking ways to help them earn money too!


  1. My wife and I lived in Russia some years back-- before the time of the ATMs. We would have to have USD carried in to us and then exchange it as we needed Rubles. One day I had to exchange a rather large amount. As I was standing in the back of the line, it became clear that the bank was out of USD, which is what the Russians were trying to get. They asked everyone in the line how much they were exchanging and if anyone had dollars. When they got to me, I thought long and hard before I told them I had a thousand (!) dollars to exchange. Normally that would not have been a good thing to do. This day, however, they hustled me to the front of the line to make my exchange and thus everyone else could make the exchanges they needed. I sure paid a lot of attention on the way home to see if I was being followed!
    Thanks for your blogging. I have read everything and looked at every photo in the last three days. It's very encouraging!

  2. Thanks for stopping by! I bet that was a more frightening time. I try to use the bankomats in very crowded places like the grocery store and I like to go when either my sons or husband can be with me. But, then I did that in the states too. California was not the safest place to withdraw from ATM's!