May 2004 (v6 i6)
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Local bank still using dot-matrix printers, slaves
Patrons appalled by slow, primitive service
by Joel Siegel, Staff Writer

AUSTIN — Cardinal One Bank patron Carl Hinsky was shocked to discover that not only does his bank still use dot-matrix printers, but slaves as well. The five-year customer awaited his account statement printout unsure of how to react to the strange situation.

“I had just gotten through the miles of paperwork for a second mortgage,” Hinsky said. “[Banker] Colleen and I were wrapping it up when all of sudden I heard these high electronic pulses followed by the heavy sound of metal on marble. That’s when I realized that the bank was using one of those old-style printers, as well as slaves to maintain them.”

Slave Cornelius, who hails from Greece, is one of the many unpaid laborers in the bank’s unorthodox employee structure, who, along with maintaining the outdated printing machines, has been assigned a variety of tasks.

“I do not understand,” he said between gasps for air as he pushed with all his might to rotate a large wooden gear wheel. “What is the purpose of my pushing this giant wheel? It says ‘Paper Feed,’ but nothing ever happens. What does this do?”

Regina Murphy, Cardinal One human resources representative, explained that the importance and the purpose of the slaves’ tasks vary.

“Some slaves are responsible for wrestling giant squid on the high seas, extracting their ink and injecting it into mechanical cartridges. Others fetch the ink cartridges from the galleys, while still more dilute and reduce the cartridge contents so that they have only a slight amount of lightly colored, difficult-to-read ink.”

Aboriginal slave Kankouk monitors the supply of bank forms, making sure that the bank lobby has only two or three deposit slips available to customers, while making traditional artwork with the rest.

“They make me grind up the paper and draw them pictures. When I complain of hunger, they suggest I have another lollipop, but the pain in my teeth is too much to bare. Please help me.”

Though shocking to some, paid bank employees have grown accustomed to the lower-class workers, who move about in slow, dragging steps, their skin black and purple from weeks of lashings and months of ink-handling.

“We’re all pretty familiar with our system,” said teller Amanda Hunt. “We know which ones are safe and which ones will just stop work suddenly and break into cryptic language. Usually the Japanese slaves are pretty reliable. But don’t go near anything from southern Europe, or you’ll regret it.”
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