Capitalism and consumerism have truly arrived in Eastern Europe. Well, at least some of the familiar signs are appearing. Under a contract with one of Poland's newly denationalized banks, IBM is now installing the first known network of automatic teller machines in the former East bloc.
The network's very first ATM machine was fired up last month in Czestochowa, 150 miles southeast of Warsaw. By the end of 1992, IBM plans to install cash-dispensing terminals at all 42 branches of Bank Slaski, one of nine commercial banks formed from the breakup of the government-controlled National Bank of Poland. All branches will be equipped with AS/400 minicomputers from IBM and ATM machines from Diebold Inc. Since most Poles have never seen a teller machine, IBM has hired a local marketing and services company to promote the concept and train people how to use them. But can they prepare the Pole on the street for that ultimate consumer crisis--when the machine devours his card?