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Visions of Bob Vila

I haven’t been feeling well of late and  I’ve been wondering if it has something to do with the fact that I rarely eat until I get home at night.  So, I decided to go grab a bite to eat at lunch time today.

There’s this great little greasy sub shop a couple of miles from where I work that I haven’t been to for a while, so I headed on down there.  I had no cash, but there is a branch of my bank right across the street, so it is quite convenient.  I drove up to the ATM and requested $20.  The ATM told me…   Well, it told me Rat Jr. had been to the store for her mother again.  Since I was there already, I figured it would be a good idea to find out exactly how much money I didn’t have in my checking account.

The balance inquiry button produces a screen that offers the option to see your balance or print out your balance.  I figured I would just take a peek; I didn’t, after all, really need a piece of paper with a depressing number on it.  So, I touched the “see balance” icon (did I mention this is a touch screen ATM?  Complete with braille dots on all the buttons you use to enter your PIN, but no way to actually get any money if you are blind because it is a TOUCH SCREEN?  And besides, what marketing genius decided braille dots were necessary on a drive-up ATM?).

The machine cheerfully reported that my available balance was $15, 968.23.  I was pretty sure that wasn’t correct, as it had just told me I didn’t have sufficient funds to get a $20 bill.  So, I tried again, this time selecting the “print balance” option.  On paper, my balance was $10.35.  I was also cheered by the bank’s printed offer to extend me an equity line of credit for home improvements.

OK.  Two questions:  1) was the extra $15.957.88 how much money I would have had if I got a home equity loan?  2)  given that I don’t actually own a home, is this what they mean when they talk about “sub-prime” loans?

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