Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Hole in the wall? Pah!

Every time I see this I shudder with loathing, and I thought it might be useful to explore why.

The obvious persuasive writing crime being committed here is that, as readers, we feel patronised. "Hole in the wall" is a nickname; and, in part, it reflects a degree of warmth. Broadly speaking, we like cash machines; they are one of the few bits of modern technology that just about everyone (except my mum) has come to accept as an indispensable part of everyday life. On the other hand, we don't much like banks - which is why, like most nicknames, this one also conveys a hint of disrespect. (We know that banks themselves refer to ATMs, which sounds much more technological and important.)

So, in deciding to adopt "our" terminology as their own, this particular bank is manifestly trying to ingratiate itself with us; like the teacher who learns that he is known throughout the school as Old Fishface, and henceforward introduces himself by that nickname to every new class he teaches.

And, anyway, why have a sign at all? No other bank does. They give us credit for knowing that, when we see a machine with a screen and a digital keypad outside one of their branches, its purpose is almost certainly to dispense crisp new currency - rather than to order a pizza or access an online computer dating service.

Patronising and redundant: two more reasons why I'll never throw in my lot, financially speaking, with the Hole in the Wall Gang.