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Weird market research phone call of the day: Lloyds TSB (well, someone acting on their behalf) just phoned me to discuss my opinions on ATMs. Apparently, they've noticed that in the last fourteen days I have used a different bank's cash point. How likely would I be to recommend it to someone else? Have I criticised Lloyds' cash machines to a friend in the last fortnight? What do I think about the range of services offered by the other bank's ATM? Was it tidy and easy to use? What one single thing would I improve about Lloyds' machines, if I could?

Do real actual people seriously recommend cash points to their friends? Do said people use any of an ATM's purported features beyond the give me some money button (and occasionally the statement button, I guess)? I don't have any particular cash point preference: if I need to withdraw some of my British pounds, I look for the nearest ATM and use it. It sounded like Lloyds have discovered that people use other banks in order to send them a message; a silent protest, if you will, against some unspecified failing of their own financial services provider. If only they could unearth why their customers are committing such gross acts of unfaithfulness, perhaps the difficult times ahead for them, and for all UK banks, could be averted.

(Happily, my opinions were to be kept in the strictest confidence, so I need not fear the backlash...)

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