Next time you decide to go out andattack a bank machine,be sure to bring a mask and goggles along to protect yourself fromthe pepper spraying you could potentially receive.
South Africa’s Absa bank is currently trialing the face seasoning scheme in an effort to thwart criminals who tamper with the card slots to install skimming devices and those who want to blow up or otherwise harm the machines. Apparently the blowing up of ATM’s is becoming quite a big problem there and the hope is that blasting people in the face with spray will stun them enough to give the police time to come and pick them up or better yet, stop them from screwing around with the things in the first place.
Predictably though, the machines don’t discriminate and in at least one instance have turned on their caretakers.
But the mechanism backfired in one incident last week when pepper spray was inadvertently inhaled by three technicians who required treatment from paramedics.
Patrick Wadula, spokesman for the Absa bank, which is piloting the scheme, told the Mail & Guardian Online: “During a routine maintenance check at an Absa ATM in Fish Hoek, the pepper spray device was accidentally activated.
“At the time there were no customers using the ATM. However, the spray spread into the shopping centre where the ATMs are situated.”
I wonder if a system like this could ever catch on around here. Part of me says no, that Canadians and perhaps even Americans would never go for it or that it would be ruined when people started trying to get sprayed on purpose and suing for gigantic sums of money, but there’s a you never know voice in my head that won’t go away. Stranger things have happened.