Monday, December 14, 2009

The Problematic ATM

Here's a weird little thing: there's an ATM in my building on the skyway level. It's right outside where the skyway leads from the State Theater, next to the student entrance for the Art Institute. Usually you find a transient or other hard-luck individual messing with the machine, inserting card after card, guessing at passwords and PIN codes, trying to draw cash from any of their associated accounts. Yeah, that's not fishy at all.

Weirder, this little black wand has been taped to the top of the machine. It's not part of the machine--that cord in back only winds down to a power converter in an electrical outlet. It doesn't plug into the ATM at all. Yet it's taped in place by official-looking labels from building management. It's just a black plastic stick, a few inches long, no cameras or holes for sound reception.

Is it a motion sensor? What function would that serve? If it's an alarm device to detect when the ATM is being carted away, why display it prominently atop the machine? Why not hide it in back or, better, inside the chassis? What else could it be, who put it there, and why's it affixed into place so cheaply? I've been wondering this for quite a while and, in the meantime, I never use this ATM.

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