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Tuesday, November 23, 2004

The multi-trillion dollar banking industry, for some odd reason, cannot keep working ballpoint pens for customers to use in their ATMs or even in the main branches.  The pens, are generally attached to a table with a bit of wire, and they are sometimes clipped over the weekend.  And  the pens run out of ink faster than any other pen made by human beings.

So, after hunting for a working pen at the Citibank ATM on 86th street yesterday, and then watching others doing the same dance, I decided to match my brains against the entire global banking federation to solve this problem and here's what I came up with:

Pen Vending Machines, or PVMs.

How it works.  Each Pen Vending Machine holds hundreds of cheap ballpoints with the logo of the banking institution.  In order to get a ballpoint, the user must swipe their card and punch their key code, just like at the regular ATM.  This way you can make sure that no one is getting more than one pen per day - or whatever the limit is. 

And that, my friends, is all there is to it.  Load that machine up before the weekend.  And you are set to go.  Half the city will be walking around with Citibank pens; the other half with Chase pens.  Great publicity.

And you know what, if you want to increase profits, then you can have a premium pen of some sort, and actually sell it through the PVM.  Your PVM is already hooked up into the ATM system.  If you want to try selling something else with a higher profit margin - that's fine too.  But the main thing: people get pens.  Period.

10:23:48 AM