"Snakes. Why'd it have to be snakes?" — Indiana Jones
LLODIO, Spain — It was green and came out of the ATM money slot, but it was not legal tender.
And it was angry.
It happened about a month ago in northern Spain's beautiful Basque Country. A middle-aged man stopped by cash machine at Caja Madrid bank in Llodio at 8 a.m. on his way to work, according to EuroWeekly.com.
When the man's money came out of the slot, so did a thin green snake. A hissing green snake. And a tempting wad of money.
According to the Daily Mail, the man grabbed for his money as the snake lunged for a bite.
The man called the police.
Although there is no account of the call, it isn't too hard to imagine: "No, really, I'm telling you there is a snake in the ATM machine guarding the money slot. Seriously. No, I have not been drinking."
A video on YouTube shows the police officer using a baton to try to coax the undulating reptile out of the machine. A person can be heard saying, in Spanish, that bankers are getting smarter and are using snakes so people can't take their money.
Notwithstanding the officer's attempts, the snake didn't budge.
The Daily Mail said the snake was trapped by the bank-note ejection mechanism — which was apparently not designed for serpents. With some help from the bank manager, the snake was soon in a box on the way to an animal shelter to face the scales of justice.
Police speculated that the snake could have been a prank, but it could also have come into the machine from the rural area around the bank.
It is impossible to resist comparing the ATM snake crisis in Spain to the ATM and debit card fees banks have considered charging in the United States.
As the Christian Science Monitor reported in September, Bank of America was planning on charging its customers a $5 monthly fee for using their debit cards. The move by the bank was an attempt to make up for fees lost when new federal regulations, the Durbin Act, went into effect on Oct. 1. The act limited the fees the banks could charge merchants for using debit and credit cards.
Business Insider told how Molly Katchpole started an online protest against the new charges that succeeded in changing Bank of America's plans.
But with prospects of the regulations costing around $8 billion annually, Business Insider reported the banks are looking for other ways to make up for the lost revenue — such as adding fees to PIN and signature transactions, reducing rewards programs — but few banks have implemented their plans. As an article in the Financial Post points out, "People are still upset over the bank bailouts and feel that the banks owe them something in return; picking their wallets was not what they had in mind."
No bank announced any plans involving snakes. Yet.
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