If you have "no place to go," come here!

An ATM Just Wished Me Happy B-day & I FREAKED!


I have three blogs that are in various levels of development but I am shooting this one from the hip, so to speak, in five minutes of an adrenalin rush upon arriving home.

Ten minutes ago I left my NYC neighborhood Duane Reade pharmacy and on my way out the door withdrew some cash from a Chase ATM machine.

As my transaction finished a row of balloons spelling out HAPPY BIRTHDAY flashed merrily on the screen.


My jaw dropped but I reasoned it was just a coincidence. My birthday had occurred last week and was coinciding with some Chase public relations promotion. But there was no other text on the screen. Just one letter per balloon spelling out “HAPPY BIRTHDAY.”

I think if it had said “HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LIBBY” I would have had a heart attack!

Was it about MY birthday? My REAL birthday???? ULP.

Should I worry if it was for my birthday that this bank I rely on for financial calculations was six days off?

I am sorry, but I don’t want my local ATMs to cultivate a faux-personal relationship with me. NO WAY, JOSE!!! Especially with the specter of the NSA haunting all of us global citizens.

Remember HAL in the movie "2001"? What a kind and reasonable voice he -- it -- had!

Color me paranoid but behind the bright, pretty balloons was to me a sinister reminder. "First off, we know your birthday!" (Of course they do!) "And WE (big NSA brother and all those crony corporate siblings) know everything else about you." I had just used my “club” discount card which tracked everything I had bought at Duane Reade. After 3000 points worth of purchases I get $5 off. A cheap price for the data-mining of me and my consumer footprints. But I am one more willing sucker for that $5.

It was and is the g*d-d*mned banksters who broke and are still breaking the economy domestically and internationally enabled by our (but not our) bribed politicians. Banksters who are laundering money for Mexican drug cartels. Who are loan sharking vulnerable students. Foreclosing homes. Carl Levin has referred to JPMorgan specifically as a "financial snake pit." Don’t get me started on that rabid rat bastard Jamie Dimon who should be in jail but instead was just voted a 74% pay increase by the JPMorganChase board of directors. He is Obama’s personal banking BFF. Tell me who your friends are. Ever hear that expression?

Take back your friggin’ balloon message!

All is not forgiven, you economic terrorists.

I got home just now and googled “Chase” and “Happy Birthday” and found a perky promotional article by a Jackie Stewart on the "American Banker" website:

JPMorgan Chase (JPM) has turned happy birthday wishes into a high-tech art form for its customers.

Its automated teller machines and its banking website display a special message for customers a week before and after their birthdays. The messages are part of a broader plan launched in 2011 by the New York company to improve the consumer experience.


Management embraced the idea, so JPMorgan started with a pilot program and then eventually expanded it nationwide in the first quarter of 2013. Roughly 120,000 JPMorgan customers celebrate a birthday every day so there are approximately 500,000 birthday messages being displayed on any given day. The notes can be displayed in English or Spanish.


"It is just a nice surprise for the customer," Vollenweider [one of the chief administration officers] says. "The impersonal suddenly becomes very personal."

Ever watch the old classic movie "Fahrenheit 451" based on the book by Ray Bradbury? The wall screen talks personally to Linda from the screen and zombied out Linda is delighted -- in fact, the movie reveals that all the Lindas watching the wall screen are delighted they have been psuedo-singled out.

Ever hear the expression “plastic fuzzies”?

PROACTIVE mass surveillance is not our friend!


[cross-posted on open salon]

No votes yet


Submitted by lambert on

Exactly. I don't want to faux relation with my ATM machine. I would, however, not like to be charged the earth for withdrawals.

Rainbow Girl's picture
Submitted by Rainbow Girl on

This creepy ATM Birthday Balloon PR strategy must be what those $3.00 ATM withdrawal charges (on non-Chase customers) pay for. No other bank or even deli ATM machine charges more than $2.00 (in my experience). Another great example of banks being real useful, cough ... to themselves at our expense.

jo6pac's picture
Submitted by jo6pac on

I use a small locally owned bank and there are no charges on withdrawals if you stay within the system. In fact if you do all your business by computer or ATM they have free accounts.

Sounds like you all are paying the bankster bonuses;)

jo6pac's picture
Submitted by jo6pac on

the same time they

Corp. Amerika

is saying thank you?
I get these from other corp. sites and I'm amazed the banksters have taken this long to catch up. Please if you can please move over to a credit union or local owned bank.

Dinner reheats are done time to eat. To all stay safe and warm.