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ATM Receipts

ATM Receipts

In Manhattan, you end up using the ATM a lot. In Manhattan, people have dramatically different kinds of account balances. These two facts often collide with some eyebrow-raising results. So, I’ve been joking lately that I should start a blog dedicated to “found ATM receipts.” Think of it as an anonymous art project and social experiment. People always leave their ATM receipts behind for the next person to pick up (I find them, because I’m anal about getting my own receipt from the machine). And, yes, I look at the account balance because it’s anonymous and it’s interesting. The balances can vary, and depending on your mood or place in the world, those account balances will make you feel either good or bad regarding your current life. If the account balance is dangerously close to “zero,” then maybe your slightly higher balance isn’t so bad after all. If the anonymous balance is well into the five digits, maybe your “slightly-higher-than-zero” account is more depressing than you know.

So, I’ve been toying with the idea of starting a blog that just posts scanned versions of whatever ATM receipts I stumble upon throughout a Manhattan week. The sole reason: commenting on the power of that subjective line item, and how it can impact one’s day. “There must already be a site for this” I assumed. So, I did a simple Google search for “ATM receipt,” and the first search result brings to light something I never expected. Custom Receipts is a site that will create fake ATM receipts for you, so that you can have some sort of printed document suggesting your account balance is much higher than it is. If you pay $16, you can have a new fake mailed to you every Friday for one year (perfect for weekend nights at the bar, I assume). A month’s supply only costs you $6. The goal? I guess it’s so you can have collateral on your body that will give a romantic prospect the impression that your bank account contains a ton of cash. The site claims these can be used for practical jokes, but what’s funny about pretending someone has either a really high or really low account balance?

Another company offers a similar service, and is much more frank with its intentions. They claim the fake ATM receipts will help you “pick up women or men quickly at bars, dances, social events. After you write your number on this receipt (conveniently folded in your wallet), hand it to the member of opposite sex and watch how fast they call you! When she sees the SIZE of your bank balance, she’ll be digging YOUR ‘gold’ in no time! Even has the barcodes on back of the receipt for added authenticity!”

Oh, and by the way, my Google research revealed that someone else already thought of the ATM receipt blog idea. At least I didn’t try to fake it.

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