Our Subversive ATM
by Jamie Zawinski, 2002

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We have a cash machine inside DNA Lounge, and when reading the manual for the machine, I was pleased to learn that one can customize many of the messages on it! There is a small area at the top of the screen (intended for saying the name of your business or something) plus a "billboard" area at the bottom of the screen that cycles through four settable messages.

The manual encourages you to sell advertising in these spaces. I chose somewhat different messages:

The top of the screen always displays

        SUBMIT - CONFORM - OBEY
          MARRY AND REPRODUCE
             NEVER QUESTION

The bottom of the screen cycles through these four messages:

             DRIVE THE COP
           OUT OF YOUR HEAD

          SURPRISE, SURPRISE:
          THE GOVERNMENT LIES.

         THE U.S. CONSTITUTION
            ISN'T PERFECT,
         BUT IT'S BETTER THAN
          WHAT WE HAVE TODAY

           DESTROY CAPITALISM
            SMASH THE STATE

Finally, the heading of the paper receipt begins with

        SHOPPING IS NOT CREATING
        YOU ARE NOT WHAT YOU OWN

This last one is my favorite, because people will probably only notice it after they've gotten home and fish the receipt out of their pockets!

We occasionally get complaints from customers about these messages! A couple of examples:

    Customer: What's up with the Unamerican shit on the ATM?
    Manager: Unamerican?
    Customer: Yeah, it says "Surprise surprise, the Government lies!"
    Manager: Uh... they do.
    Customer: Yeah, but you're not supposed to say things like that! Especially not now!

But my favorite complaint was from the guy who was puzzled that the ATM says "Destroy Capitalism" but charges him a $3 service fee. Irony is hard, let's go shopping!




Update, 2011:
We have a new ATM now, but it still has entertaining messages on it. Details and a video are in my 2011 blog post about it.