Okay, folks, as I sit here again in the Internet café, I wanted to write a quick note about something I experienced, in its fullest form, just a little bit ago.
Yes, anyone who has been serving in the Peace Corps in Azerbaijan knows what I’m talking about when I create a web log entry with the title “A.T.M. Machines”. It’s an experience just about any time you approach an International Bank of Azerbaijan A.T.M.
You see, many folks in Azerbaijan have a different style when it comes to these fancy machines. Anyone with a checking account in the United States has become accustomed to the “wait in line for your turn” method. I mean, it works okay, but why do that when you can swarm the machine, crowding around the civilian who’s taken on the role of “operator”, so you can hand him/her your card and he/she can do it for you? Oh yeah, let’s not forget that if, for some reason, you’ve brought multiple cards with you, you can stand there as said operator punches in your PIN number and withdraws your desired amount of cash. Honestly, it was really something to stand within the cluster and watch A.T.M. cards get passed up to a lady who was doin’ the withdrawin’ for folks standing by.
Okay, let me back up a little. This is not a criticism of how A.T.M. machine etiquette works in Azerbaijan. I mean, heck, as long as you get your money, it’s cool, and let me also mention that I don’t hand up my card like others do. I don’t take it that far. I just wait my turn, whenever that is.
It’s really just interesting to see how people deal with certain kinds of technology in different cultures. You’d think things simply follow a set standard, but then you get surprised. Truth be told, a lot of Azerbaijanis receive pension money, and there’s a chance many of them have never operated an A.T.M. before. I guess they figure a more communal technique to pulling out cash is perfectly fine, and I can’t blame them. I mean, what if you all the sudden had a bank account and an A.T.M. machine dropped into your town? You’d have to figure it out, and, for them, this is what works. I’ll just try and not approach the automated teller machine on pension day.