Connect with us


Isio Knows Better: “Aunty, I No Get Change” ATM Woes & Other Cashless Society Struggles

Avatar photo



Isio 3God knows that I did not do a bad thing when I decided to branch one store like dat to buy some home accessories items. I bought everything I bought and the bill came to (let’s say) N6,542. Okay, no problem. I gave them (the cashier and Manager) N7,000, only to be told they did not have any change. I looked at the manager who told me that I could also pay with my ATM card, na e I commot ATM card 1 give Oga Manager.

The moments the POS swallowed my card were unusually long. Aga Manager looked at me, told me (with beta English), “Oh don’t worry, madam, it will soon go through, it’s jest the network.” I smiled my understanding softly and nodded. Before I knew it, he had punched CANCEL

Horrified, I shrieked, “Why would you do that?”

He said it was not a problem, that the network was just too slow, and that he had terminated it to start afresh another transaction with another card. He asked me if I had another card, to which I responded yes, and handed him ATM Card 2, and collected the previous.

Sharp, sharp… the second one went like a charm. They were happy, and I was happy, and just as I was about to smilingly retrieve my goods from the sales attendant who held them lovingly up to me, I got the sing-song tone that was my SMS alert – and then another one, almost simultaneously. And then it hit me… all I could say was, “Please Jesus, don’t let it be what I think it is.”

It turned out it was. Both banks had debited me sha. L’oro kan, I had been double billed.

Long story short, Oga Manager’s perfect English disappeared. He couldn’t return my money, I was displeased. He promised me my bank (ATM 1’s bank) would refund my money, I wanted to know how, since his POS didn’t print out a declined slip. He talked some more – basically tried to convince me that he was right. I just tayah for the mata. I walked into that shop happy as a kite, but left, squeezing face like onions. Pstchewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.

Yes, it is still peppering me, as I never got my money back.

First of all, for a cashless society, the “system/server” of many payment portals leave a lot to be desired. Who has ever been to an ATM, and the moment the machine was to vomit your cash, you hear the krrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr but see nothing, receive nothing. Just the ATM opening its mouth bearing nothing and its computer brain (in that Lord Of The Rings Witchcraft voice) saying, “Thank you for banking with us…”

How? Se kin se wipe awom aiye ti won ekpe fun ATM yii sha? Abi iru ere rada-rada wo le’leyi bayii? Eez ga ju.

[Translation in Nigerian English: WHAAAAT?! Hope it is not that the world of principalities have measured the swear for this ATM? Or what manner of rough-play is this one now? Na wa o].

And at that moment of exasperation I got an SMS alert, my bank happily informing me that my last transaction had been debited from my account. I took that one too up with both banks. I signed a few forms, talk-talk-talk until saliva finish from my mouth. Una no go kee pesin for this Lagos.

Yes, I am very aware of my kobos and nairas. My mother is an accountant, worked in a bank for 30 years, and in this regard, the Urhobo apple did not fall far from the tree at all. Before I left the country for my Masters, I did an 18-month financial plan where I diligently projected how I intended to spend the money I was taking with me (monthly, quarterly, yearly), the money I was leaving behind (a spread sheet of what it was for and how it should be spent), the money I would spend for the 6 months post-return to Lagos, and made sure to secure and hide the back-up to my back-up plan in case of incasity. Oh yes o. I cannot fit to shout. My mother once teased me that even though she was an accountant by profession, my money counting and management skills put hers to shame. I beamed and took no offence, but rather took it as a compliment as I no fit lie, I count my kobos very, very well.

What?! How can you blame me? I have been working and saving my kobos since I was 17 years old. Pffffft. I am not going to let one ATM swallow my 20k. Ko jo mehn.

That was how once, when in Italy I bought lunch of 40 euros at a restaurant for friends and I, and gave the waiter my card to pay. It must have been divine intervention, because just before he gave me the POS to punch in my pin, I realized he had punched in 400 euros instead of 40.


This oyinbo must be misled by my soft-spokenness o! Because, walahi, this Nigerian kitten will just turn to a NIGERIAN LION. Wat nansenze? Alakoba. Joker of the big-bang explosion. Do I look like I want to be poor in a strange land?! Tufiakwa. Oga CANCEL TRANSACTION AND PUT FORTY EUROS THERE, MY FREN’!

Walahi, dem no go kee pesin for this planet. Hian.

Between the many ATM woes, ridiculous bank charges and the Aunty-I-no-get-change shop owners/cashiers/filling station attendants, I don’t know which is more exasperating, although I have to say that two of my most exasperating experiences happened in Italy, while the third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventieth, one hundred thousandth happened in Lagos. The 40/400 Euros incident was one, the second was: getting continuous debit alerts on a Friday night of my Italian card being used to buy stuff in America while I was at home, in bed, that night. I looked at the said card in horror and quickly called my bank to report it and block the card. Thankfully, I did not have to talk until saliva finish for my mouth. The Italian bank refunded my money in barely a few days with apologies, and gave me a new card.

DAZZ WOT AYAM TALKIN’ ABOUT! THANKIYUUU! Unlike some banks that I will not mention their names before Nigerians say I am not patriotic.

So, I really would love to hear your ATM-woes-experiences, BANK dramas (good and bad), and if ever you’ve been strangely debited or credited. What did you do? And, most importantly, how many times have you forfeited your change because of the I-no-get-change merchants? How many times have you been forced to collect Maggi/sweet because dem no get change? Sometimes the matter go tayah me, I go say, ” Sorry I don’t lick sweet.” Or, “Sorry, I have Maggi at home.”

Me? I’ve lost track! But my most recent exasperating experience happened at the RITE SHOP. After buying things worth tens of thousands of naira plus N15, I gave him (the cashier) all the money plus N100, only for him to give me receipt and say, “Thank you.”

Ko ye mi. Where’s my N85? He said, “Aunty, I no get change…”


I swear, dem no go kee pesin for this universe.

Isio De-laVega Wanogho is a Nigerian supermodel, a multi-award winning media personality and an interior architect who is a creative-expressionist at her core. She uses words, wit and her paintings to tell stories that entertain, yet convey a deeper meaning. Follow her on Instagram @isiodelavega and visit her website: to see her professional body of work.