back to article All I want for Christmas is cash: Welsh ATMs are unbeatable. Or unbootable. Something like that

On the seventh day of Christmas, the bork gods sent to me: a boot-hurt ATM, fix the printer, nerds, Scottish parking whi-i-i-i-nge, one dead DB, petty angry user, flightless Windows signage, and a server they said had ceased to be. Welcome to the Twelve Borks of Christmas (12BoC): a collection of Register reader stories of …

  1. Giles C Silver badge

    Social Distancing

    Not on the same level, walking through Peterborough town centre I passed the Tesco store. This has two cash machines outside it with nothing else on the road, (the next cash machine is about 200m away) both machines were displaying a disabled due to social distancing message. Should have taken a photo....

    Certainly stops you getting any cash before going into the store...

    1. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: Social Distancing

      If your card can be used to withdraw cash, it can almost certainly be used to pay for toilet paper hoard directly.

    2. Emir Al Weeq

      Re: Social Distancing

      This reminds me of the time I was queueing at a store (Next, London Colney) to make good on the second part of a “click and collect” service. This was during the relaxation of the first UK lockdown and the queue was a long one in terms of queuees*, made geographically-longer by the two-metre distancing. During my slow journey to the till, a touch-screen machine came into view that claimed to allow entry of click and collect codes.

      I left the queue and went to the machine. The attempt to enter a code was greeted with a message along the lines of “This service is not available”. I had several codes, having sacrificed my place in line, I tried them all, but it was in vain. So I journeyed to the back of the queue and then slowly approached the till where, along with a great show of excess usage of their hand sanitiser, I complained about the machine not working and the inconvenience it had caused me.

      “Oh, yeah: that service has been disabled to stop people touching the machine.”


      *They say that those who live in the Arctic circle have a hundred words for snow, so why is it that we Brits (who have a reputation for queueing) don’t have a similar number for those who queue? I had to make “queuee” up. If you know of a genuine word for this: please advise.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Social Distancing

        Brits (who have a reputation for queueing) don’t have a similar number (of words) for those who queue?

        People who queue are just 'people'.

        The other kind are 'foreign'.

      2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: Social Distancing

        had to make “queuee” up.

        I'd have thought that a "queuer" would be one who queues, a "queuee" would be one who is queued for?

        Then again, since the main reason for being there was not to queue in itself but to collect, would they not be collectors?

        1. Irony Deficient Silver badge

          Re: Social Distancing

          This being El Reg, I might have suggested “queutard”, but for it already existing in French with an entirely different definition.

          Perhaps “queueist” (on the model of “canoeist”) might be another alternative?

      3. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: Social Distancing

        Most shops I've been in seem to have hand sanitiser dispensers except our local chemists!!!!

      4. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

        Re: Social Distancing

        British people don't talk to each other in queues.

        Certainly there are different queues. I think I gave someone the Liff book for Christmas (place names recycled as new words for things) without reading it all myself first, so I might ask if it's covered.

        A queue at a door or other service point which is currently closed.

        A queue in a shop that extends outside the shop. Or, similar, and current, a queue outside the shop because they are limiting how many people can come in.

        A queue for buying eight items or less (with no sense of grammar) or fewer, probably called something like a minishant, with two verbs for (a) joining the queue with more than eight items, and (b) looking suspiciously at the basket in front of you whom you suspect of indeed being a fullerton.

        The adjacent queue (other than a minishant) which is moving faster than your slow one is an adlingfleet, unless the book says different. (If there are n queues, the probability that there isn't at least one which is faster than your randomly chosen one is 1 divided by n, i.e. that you chose the fastest queue is 1/6 if there are 6 queues.)

        Then there's the queue in the Post Office where everybody waits in one line for your turn at six service windows, two of which are open.

        This is similar to the single queue for the stockade of tills which are self service anyway.

        And the not-quite-a-queue at a bar or a barber shop, where you sit or stand wherever there's a space and you try to remember, or to count, how many people are technically in front of you or behind you. When crowded, this may become a stramash, and that's not a place name.

        Any others...

      5. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Social Distancing

        "why is it that we Brits (who have a reputation for queueing) don’t have a similar number for those who queue?"

        USAians love to invent words to label everything they can. For various sad reasons, many, many USAians are discovering queuing at food banks, or "lines" as they call them. I'm sure the media will come up with many new words to describe the action of queuing, probably different words for different type of queue or reasons for queuing.

        On a side note, all the video on the news of foodbank queuing in the USA seem to show enormous queues of cars, often multiple lines. How much are those drivers spending on fuel in stop/start lines miles long compared top the free food they are collecting? No, I'm not being sarky here, I'm genuinely puzzled over the cost of fuel burned against the value of the food.

        1. Tomato Krill

          Re: Social Distancing

          Well, if you have a full tank of gas and an empty cupboard I don’t think the ratio is relevant.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maybe the chkdsk corrupting boot bug that popped up last week?

    1. Sandtitz Silver badge

      That chkdsk bug manifests itself by a BSOD and/or booting into the recovery console.

      Looks like a good ol disk failure to me.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        I was wondering if it's even a Windows bug. The ATM looks old enough to be running OS/2.

  3. KittenHuffer Silver badge

    Being Wales ....

    .... it's probably been infected with Schmallenberg Virus or Cache Valley Virus!

    Making this comment I'm less worried about being attacked by trolls. Far more worried about shepherd attacks!

    1. AndrueC Silver badge

      Re: Being Wales ....

      No need to be sheepish about it. Unless someone is pulling the wool over your eyes.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To be fair

    This error has been printed in that awful language, english. In wales of all places. It's not a surprise it didn't get fixed so fast when you need to find a translator just to read the error. In fact the person who wrote the error was very culturally insensitive and borderline racist by not providing a welsh translation.

    If this error was written in welsh, it would have probably been fixed as soon as it was discovered.

    Shame on whoever wrote this error.


    1. a_yank_lurker

      Re: To be fair

      The shame is on some ignorant in Redmond who thinks the world speaks only English or Spanglish with an Indian accent. </snark>

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: To be fair

      Not even Queen's English either I wager!

    3. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Re: To be fair

      So are they in trouble for displaying non-bilingual signage?

      Nid oes bysellfwrdd. Pwyswch yr allwedd i barhau. :-)

      (Perfformiwyd y cyfieithiad gan Google.)

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: To be fair

        Quite. How do they think they can get away with it?

      2. Martin an gof Silver badge

        Re: To be fair

        Cash machines in Wales usually have a Welsh language option for the interface and I have found that it is often a much more pleasurable experience than the English norm.

        Cash machines outside shops often fill the screen with unneccessary distractions - adverts and the like - but in most cases once you choose 'Welsh', these are entirely absent.

        The downside is that I have yet to find a cash machine which gets the various Welsh words for 'yes' and 'no' correct.

        You will often see a menu such as

        "Oes eisiau gwasanaeth arall arnoch?"

        With options

        "Oes" and "nac ydw"

        This is the equivalent in English of asking

        "Is there a need for another service with you?"

        and having

        "There is" and "I do not"

        as possible replies.

        Worth it for the simpler interface though.


        1. tcmonkey

          Re: To be fair

          Reminds me of the ATMs in London back in 2012 that had a "Cockney language" option.

      3. WanderingHaggis

        Re: To be fair

        thuirt gu math

  5. stungebag

    Amex ATM error

    There was a branch of Amex in Cannon Street with a handy ATM many years ago. One morning I walked up, shoved in my card, and waited. And waited. Then waited some more.

    MY card was then ejected and an onscreen message appeared: "Delay in completing transaction. Answer the phone if it rings".

    1. DJV Silver badge

      Answer the phone if it rings

      And did it ring?

    2. AndrueC Silver badge

      Re: Amex ATM error

      Many (many, many) years ago a friend went to get cash out of an ATM. This would be in the 1980s when I was young and stupid (I'm not young any more). He put his card in then typed his PIN, There was a clap of thunder and the ATM rebooted. His card remained inside the machine.

      I think he said he waited ten minutes before giving up and going home.

  6. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    Check the back of the ATM

    Maybe there's a USB stick plugged in, or maybe it was plugged in and hacked the ATM for a few days before falling out?

  7. Blackjack Silver badge

    The World?

    Most of the world still uses cash and in some places like local markets and so on they only take cash.

    Plus when things break down cash is still accepted while your credit card, debit card or app won't.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: The World?

      Additionally, it's rare to find Contactless only. I'm not sure if I've ever seen one like that. Invariably, Contactless is just one of the optional extras on a standard card reader.

  8. Toni the terrible Bronze badge


    To Err is Human, to Moo is Bovine

  9. mikebanks

    Train ate my card

    A few years (15 maybe) I was using the cash machine at my railway station. Just as entering PIN, along came a non-stopping Intercity, machine reboots. I had to get a new card from my bank as it would not give me my card back.

    The ATM was still using OS/2 so can't blame Windows of any variety.

    1. tcmonkey

      Re: Train ate my card

      Perhaps not, but you could blame IBM, and they're just as bad.

  10. Jakester

    Spit out another's deposit envelope

    Several years ago, my wife made a deposit at an ATM, back when deposit envelopes were used. The ATM successfully completed the transaction, but then proceeded to eject someone else's deposit envelope with the contents still inside. The branch was still open, so she took the envelope in and explained to a cashier what had happened.

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