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Al Queda pays with $2's?
April 7, 2005 10:30 AM   Subscribe

Best Buy's highly skilled staff of cashier-working counterfeit detectors, "a little nervous in the post-9/11 world", has the Baltimore police department put customer Mike Bolesta in handcuffs and leg irons after he uses uncommon but legal US currency to pay his bill.

"Meanwhile, everybody's looking at me. I've lived here 18 years. I'm hoping my kids don't walk in and see this. And I'm saying, 'I can't believe you're doing this. I'm paying with legal American money.'" Bolesta was then taken to the county police lockup in Cockeysville, where he sat handcuffed to a pole and in leg irons while the Secret Service was called in.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow (171 comments total)

 
Registration req.
posted by R. Mutt at 10:32 AM on April 7, 2005


The article you requested is available only to registered members.

Registration makes the baby jeebus cry.
posted by haqspan at 10:32 AM on April 7, 2005


I have a feeling Bolesta is going to have plenty of two dollar bills to throw around after he sues Best Buy & The City of Baltimore.

Sue. Them. All!
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 10:35 AM on April 7, 2005 [1 favorite]


Heh. "Cockeysville." Heh heh.
posted by scratch at 10:37 AM on April 7, 2005


Weird. It didn't (and still doesn't) ask me to register. Text of article here.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 10:38 AM on April 7, 2005


Use bugmenot.com tog et a user/passwd for the site.

This story reminds me of the time I took a bunch of $2 bills to Russia and gave them out as tips to the hard-working train staff on the Trans-Siberian Railway. One guy, who was asking every American he met for the new American quarters (he was a collector), was ecstatic. he'd heard of the $2 bill but had never seen one. I made his day and he made the rest of my trip very comfortable.
posted by camworld at 10:38 AM on April 7, 2005


free link (via)
posted by andrew cooke at 10:38 AM on April 7, 2005


For Baltimore County police, said spokesman Bill Toohey, "It's a sign that we're all a little nervous in the post-9/11 world."

The next person who uses "in the post-9/11 world" in a serious sentence should be shot on sight, and people should dance on his/her grave.
posted by clevershark at 10:38 AM on April 7, 2005 [1 favorite]


I bet the cops in "Cockeysville" are real tough guys - not to be messed with.
posted by R. Mutt at 10:39 AM on April 7, 2005


Heh. "Cockeysville." Heh heh.

That's my 'hood, yo... wtf you laughing at? (j/k)
posted by stifford at 10:40 AM on April 7, 2005


Also being discussed here, and include the above article.
posted by Monk at 10:41 AM on April 7, 2005


The next person who uses "in the post-9/11 world" in a serious sentence should be shot on sight, and people should dance on his/her grave.
I concur. They use it as if it's some magical catchphrase to absolve them of all responsibility. Revolting.
posted by prostyle at 10:43 AM on April 7, 2005


I'm with you, Fuzzy Monster. What nonsense.
posted by malaprohibita at 10:43 AM on April 7, 2005


and this is one of the many reasons I dont patron Worst Buy.
posted by MrLint at 10:47 AM on April 7, 2005


We are missing the big story here, which is that, for some reason, he agreed to pay for installation after he was told the fee would be waived. Suspicious. Must be a terrriss.
posted by uncleozzy at 10:48 AM on April 7, 2005


I would love to sit down with Bill Toohey and politely ask him how on God's green earth he, or anyone else, could possibly think something like this could conceivably be linked to terrorism.

I mean, suspicion of counterfeit bills being passed is one thing, but unless he was using these $2 bills to buy a ground-to-air missile system, it's hard to detect the sinister hand of Al Queda here...not matter how "nervous" one supposedly is post-9/11.
posted by The Dryyyyy Cracker at 10:48 AM on April 7, 2005


i hope he sues the hell out of them ... that kind of ignorance and stupidity needs to be costly
posted by pyramid termite at 10:49 AM on April 7, 2005


This is sort of interesting.

I mean, first of all, there's the fact that, yes, it does look odd. The guy is disgruntled, and he's paying in a lot of 2$ bills. (I never knew you could get those in bulk-- and I'll bet the Best Buy people didn't, either.) He says "so sue me" when challenged; he looks to the clerk exactly like the kind of guy who fakes bills.

However, the Best Buy people are so incredibly idiotic in this case that it's ridiculous. It looks as though somebody forgot that they were giving him the installation for free; but when you're asking for payment, threatening to arrest isn't always the best thing to do. Sure, when it came down, the money might have looked a little bogus, but, damnit, woman, you have his phone number, don't you? Accept them, check them out, and find him if they're fake. The phrase "avoiding a public-relations nightmare" seems to mean absolutely nothing to the people at Best Buy.

People will think twice about shopping there from now on.
posted by koeselitz at 10:49 AM on April 7, 2005


well, I dunno about him, but I'm laughing that "stiff"ford lives in Cockeysville.....
posted by slapshot57 at 10:51 AM on April 7, 2005


That counterfeit detecting pen they mention in the story drives me nuts. In NYC, every time you use a $20 bill in a supermarket, drugstore or any other chain type store, they whip out that stupid detection marker and test the bills. I have NEVER seen a bill that has failed the test. Plus, why are we all assumed to be guilty?
posted by R. Mutt at 10:51 AM on April 7, 2005


Don't know if it's still the case, but ink on US bills never used to dry completely. If you take a bill and rub it on some white paper, the ink will come off. Brand new bills (like the kind used in his protest) are the best examples.
posted by mania at 10:56 AM on April 7, 2005


We are missing the big story here, which is that, for some reason, he agreed to pay for installation after he was told the fee would be waived. Suspicious. Must be a terrriss.

as i'm sure many of us have, I've dealt with returns and odd money exchanges with best buy. it's easier every single time (and better for your health) to just pay the pimply kid before he gets his pimply boss to dumb all over you for hours before you end up paying anyway.
posted by carsonb at 10:56 AM on April 7, 2005


There's a reason people around here are called Baltimorons.
posted by OmieWise at 10:56 AM on April 7, 2005


Plus, why are we all assumed to be guilty?

Well, because it's a post-911 world! Didn't you get the memo?
posted by 327.ca at 10:58 AM on April 7, 2005


he looks to the clerk exactly like the kind of guy who fakes bills.


What does one of these look like, so I can make sure that I am not one of them.
posted by melt away at 10:58 AM on April 7, 2005


By the way, I don't think Mr. Toohey's comment about "a post-9/11 world" should be taken so seriously. He sounds to me like a standard police spokesman who's trying to stem the formation of a lynch mob by explaining away the sheer incompetence of that clerk. The police always have to take something like this line-- they're not supposed to be standing up and saying, "the clerks at best buy are idiots," they're supposed to say things like "move on folks, there's nothing to see here." "We're all a little nervous in the post-9/11 world" is the "post-9/11" way of saying "move along, nothing to see here."

On preview: mania, they don't make two-dollar bills anymore. That's why they're so rare.
posted by koeselitz at 10:59 AM on April 7, 2005


After RTF'ing, I'd say somebody in the store decided to get a bit pissy with the guy and it went way out of control.

If the guy would have paid in consecutive ones he might have received the same treatment. I'm not exactly sure how this would have been sorted out otherwise. From the person's account it would seem that Best Buy had a right to be call the police as they suspected a counterfeit and the police did have the right to detain him until the experts arrived to sort it out.

On the other hand, this went way beyond what is reasonable. The man wasn't struggling or making threats or anything, there should have been no reason to treat him any different than an average suspect.

So I agree that there may be a case here for lawsuits o'plenty, but I do ask (outside the leg irons bit), how could this have been handled otherwise?
posted by Numenorian at 11:00 AM on April 7, 2005


Why would anyone make counterfeit currency in such a low denomination? What an amazing collection of mouth-breathing assholes.
posted by Mayor Curley at 11:01 AM on April 7, 2005


My loathing for Best Buy knows no bounds. When they fucked up a TV delivery I managed to shout and yell my way into enough gift certificates for a free DVD player for my trouble. This guy deserves a free Hawaiian vacation for his.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:03 AM on April 7, 2005


On preview: mania, they don't make two-dollar bills anymore. That's why they're so rare.

The United States Treasury would like to disagree.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 11:04 AM on April 7, 2005


"What does one of these look like, so I can make sure that I am not one of them."

Well... think about it, the guy comes in, pissed as hell (and rightly so); I don't know why, but he's been threatened with arrest, so this clerk's probably been warned about him. And then he pays in a stack of 2$ bills, even one of which most of us have never even seen? It looks at least a little suspicious, no? (Although, I have to say, what Mayor Curley says above is spot-on; no one who can use a copier would be dumb enough to copy 2$ bills.)

But it was really bad thinking to call the cops on the spot. It's only money, and you already have his name, address, phone number, et cetera; check them out, and call the cops later if needed. This clerk should be fired, if she hasn't been already.
posted by koeselitz at 11:04 AM on April 7, 2005


not myself: wow. didn't know that.
posted by koeselitz at 11:05 AM on April 7, 2005


Plus, why are we all assumed to be guilty?
posted by R. Mutt at 10:51 AM PST on April 7


I think it's called something like security or safety. If I am not mistaken, those concepts require that people and places be watched to prevent bad things from happening. This is opposed to a concept where we just let things go freely without suspecting anyone or anything. I suppose we could just get rid of the whole idea of crime prevention if that would make you feel less put upon.
posted by dios at 11:06 AM on April 7, 2005


enter the troll...
posted by koeselitz at 11:08 AM on April 7, 2005


I'll bet this story is counterfeit...
posted by zeoslap at 11:08 AM on April 7, 2005


koeselitz, it's okay. I have a harder time believing that people write letters to the US Treasury. ;-)
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 11:10 AM on April 7, 2005


I haven't been able to read the actual article, but judging from the quotes it looks like this happened in the County of Baltimore, not the City of Baltimore. I've been reading far too much David Simon.
posted by drezdn at 11:10 AM on April 7, 2005


I think it's called something like security or safety. If I am not mistaken, those concepts require that people and places be watched to prevent bad things from happening. This is opposed to a concept where we just let things go freely without suspecting anyone or anything. I suppose we could just get rid of the whole idea of crime prevention if that would make you feel less put upon.

Ah, dios. The master of understatement.
posted by 327.ca at 11:12 AM on April 7, 2005


zeoslap: I'll bet this story is counterfeit...

Baltimore Sun link of the story

I would call counterfeit, but the Sun is at least as legitimate as any major newspaper.
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:12 AM on April 7, 2005


And for what's its worth, I wouldn't take this guy's case because he is unlikely to recover anything. This occurred in Maryland. And I seem to recall, though I'm not a Maryland attorney, that contributory negligence is an absolute bar to recovery. So, if Best Buy could show that this guy contributed to this by his actions, then he would barred from recovering anything.
posted by dios at 11:12 AM on April 7, 2005


This is opposed to a concept where we just let things go freely without suspecting anyone or anything.

There is a middle ground between no security at all and a level of attention to security and safety that doesn't require the patently ludicrous amount of escalation that happened in this case.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 11:13 AM on April 7, 2005


Plus, why are we all assumed to be guilty?

YOU'RE not guilty, the bill is guilty.
posted by scratch at 11:14 AM on April 7, 2005


And for what's its worth, I wouldn't take this guy's case because he is unlikely to recover anything.

I'm curious, dios. Do you bill your clients for the time you spend posting your crap on MeFi?
posted by 327.ca at 11:14 AM on April 7, 2005 [1 favorite]


PST, that wasn't R.Mutt's point. R.Mutt seemed put upon because people check his $20.00 to make sure they aren't counterfeit. In other words, he was upset with the whole concept of checking for counterfeit money.

On preview: 327, of course not. Right now I happen to be on lunch break.
posted by dios at 11:16 AM on April 7, 2005



People will think twice about shopping there from now on


no, they won't.
posted by quonsar at 11:19 AM on April 7, 2005


I have to ask:
dios do you think what happened was reasonable? I know you are looking at this from a lawyers point of view (and I suspect you are right that he has no case), but do you really think such drastic action is acceptable? (I am not insuating that you do)
posted by ozomatli at 11:19 AM on April 7, 2005


On preview: 327, of course not. Right now I happen to be on lunch break.

OK. Y'know, I'm only asking because your posting history suggests that you must take lunch breaks all day long. But no worries. It wasn't a serious question.
posted by 327.ca at 11:22 AM on April 7, 2005


You can still get $2 bills nowadays. For some reason it seems that post offices always have a few on hand, which the clerks are happy to exchange for other denominations (I'm guessing that they don't even try giving them out as change).

Post offices do seem to be a magnet for unusual behaviour.
posted by clevershark at 11:24 AM on April 7, 2005


ozo, no. I don't think it was reasonable. My guess is that, as with most things, we are getting a version of the story and that the guy probably was not the exemplar of a calm and collected patron. I would guess that both sides acted unreasonably. Best Buy shouldn't have let it get that out of hand, though. A manager should have dealt with it better. It was bad business. Though, I think they have a right to investigate suspicious things. I would hope, though, that the person in charge of investigation of money would be familiar $2.00. So, I think they made stupid decisions, and I bet the guy did the same. This kind of thing where situations escalate too high happen all the time. My outrage meter doesn't even twitch on this story.
posted by dios at 11:24 AM on April 7, 2005


327, I do post throughout the day. I am just on a lunch break right now. Some days I am busier than not. Not sure why my posting habits are any more interesting to you than any other person who posts at work, though.
posted by dios at 11:26 AM on April 7, 2005


Best Buy Sucks.
This company is just begging for a consumer fraud investigation. Not that I'm holding my breath.
posted by sixpack at 11:26 AM on April 7, 2005


PST, that wasn't R.Mutt's point.

Ah, I got things tangled up. Looking back though, I think he does have a point:

In NYC, every time you use a $20 bill in a supermarket, drugstore or any other chain type store, they whip out that stupid detection marker and test the bills.

Every twenty? When I worked retail we checked fifties and hundreds, but not twenties. This does seem like overkill to me, considering how ubiquitous the twenty is. Yes that makes it the most likely bill to counterfeit, but what you save in detection and deterrent seems to be lost in time and materials. I guess I want to see some king of compelling loss prevention analysis on this one...

And on preview, quonsar is absolutely right. This won't change most people's shopping habits one bit.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 11:27 AM on April 7, 2005


By now, a lot of people are familiar with the story of Steve Wozniak buying sheets of US$2.00 bills from the mint, just for shock value. No doubt he'll be shaking his head over this.
posted by Smart Dalek at 11:29 AM on April 7, 2005


Those anti-counterfeit pens, don't work. I worked in a restaurant that had several fakes foisted on us, even though we were checking the bills with the pen. It's the age-old problem of cat and mouse between the fakers and the faked...
posted by schyler523 at 11:31 AM on April 7, 2005


I wonder how many clerks—especially younger ones—have actually seen a two-dollar bill. The level of ignorance at work here is debatable, but it reminds me of the operator who refused to believe New Mexico was a state.

Sounds like Best Buy had a handful of reasons to at least be (naively) suspicious, though:

"According to a Baltimore County police arrest report, suspicions were roused when an employee noticed some smearing of ink. So the cops were called in. One officer noticed the bills ran in sequential order."

I can't say the overzealous actions of one Best Buy store make me want to boycott the whole chain.
posted by dhoyt at 11:31 AM on April 7, 2005


I must admit to agreeing with you on this one dios, I don't think we are getting the whole story. My outrage-o-meter is not registering much, my my dumb-ass-o-tron 2000 is strongly in the yellow when in comes to the clerk and the policemen's knee-jerk appeal to 9/11.

I for one think people are a little too suspicious of everything they see. Life is much more enjoyable if you don't insist that everyone is trying to kill you are steal your stuff.
posted by ozomatli at 11:31 AM on April 7, 2005


I also concur with quonsar. The vast majority of people will never even hear about this story anyway (even if it makes it to Olbermann's show).
posted by clevershark at 11:32 AM on April 7, 2005


Hey dios, please don't start practicing law in KY. How much worse do your clients fare than if they'd represented themselves?

And PST, yes, they commonly use those markers on twenties here; they're starting to use them on tens. What kind of markers are those anyway? Are they REALLY magic? And isn't it a crime to deface money?
posted by davy at 11:33 AM on April 7, 2005


Those anti-counterfeit pens, don't work. I worked in a restaurant that had several fakes foisted on us, even though we were checking the bills with the pen. It's the age-old problem of cat and mouse between the fakers and the faked...

Oh they work, but only to catch the laziest of counterfeiters. They are bascially all just iodine pens which detect starch in wood based paper. They detect Mr. Smooth Criminal's photocopied or laser-jet printed bills.
posted by ozomatli at 11:34 AM on April 7, 2005


And isn't it a crime to deface money?

Sure, but then so is defacing the flag, but you don't see anyone doing jack squat about it.
posted by clevershark at 11:36 AM on April 7, 2005


And isn't it a crime to deface money?

Sure, but then so is defacing the flag, and you don't see anyone doing jack squat about it.
posted by clevershark at 11:36 AM on April 7, 2005


Hey dios, please don't start practicing law in KY. How much worse do your clients fare than if they'd represented themselves?
posted by davy at 11:33 AM PST on April 7


Do you have any particular problem with my legal analysis of contributory negligence or my assessment of this case? Do you have some basis to question my abilities to practice law? Or were you just being a prick because you don't agree with my politics?
posted by dios at 11:37 AM on April 7, 2005


Oops... sorry for the accidental double.
posted by clevershark at 11:37 AM on April 7, 2005


Wow, rereading this, everybody dropped the ball here:

from article: "But, according to a Baltimore County police arrest report, suspicions were roused when an employee noticed some smearing of ink. So the cops were called in. One officer noticed the bills ran in sequential order."

Well, yes, the bills ran in sequential order. He got them from the bank. Is there any way in hell that could be a sign of faking? Do counterfeiters really copy bills by changing the serial numbers so that they're neatly sequential? The only reason I can imagine bills running in sequential order being suspicious is if they were stolen from a bank. If this was a sequential stack of $100 bills, maybe there would be room for suspicion on that count, but who steals $2 bills from a bank? If anything, the sequential numbers ought to be evidence that the bills aren't fake, and that they were obtained legally from the source, as I imagine most $2 bills are. Right?

Finally, yeah, sadly, this probably won't change anybody's buying habits. I've been there before, and there are some reasons I might go back, but I've never been so dumb as to have a car stereo installed there.
posted by koeselitz at 11:37 AM on April 7, 2005


I concur. Best Buy sucks (of course, I'm one of their devil customers).
posted by dig_duggler at 11:42 AM on April 7, 2005


i was at best buy yesterday. now they make you queue up in a line and wait for an available cashier to summon you forward, just like at a bank.
posted by quonsar at 11:42 AM on April 7, 2005


Didn't anyone working have a screwy uncle?
posted by ontic at 11:43 AM on April 7, 2005


Reminds me of the tale of the $2 bill at Taco Bell. (seems down, Google cache)
posted by MikeKD at 11:44 AM on April 7, 2005


how could this have been handled otherwise?

Well, once upon a time I was paying my way through college, and one of my jobs was working at Dominick's Finer Foods (a grocery store chain in Illinois). When I was promoted to cashier, I had to take a three- or four-evening training course (can't remember which), in which I drove from school each day to the training center -- it was set up like the interior of a store, just like McDonalds does (also in Illinois) with their "Hamburger U" training center.

Among the training we received was an entire evening dedicated to passing around, eating, discussing, and learning the names and lookup codes for the produce that the store sold (I still remember a lot of 'em, more than fifteen years later). We also spent a full evening session "checking out" fake customers (we took turns being the customers, filling our carts with stuff and taking them to the checkout) -- using real money, I might add.

Among the things discussed: how to avoid getting scammed by people asking for change "while you've got the drawer open", and the fact that $2 bills are legal tender, so they had some on hand so that we would be familiar with what a $2 bill looked like. Susan B. Anthony dollars, too. Oh, and they also made us learn to count change out the "right" way (the way that nobody seems to know how to do any more: "from twenty, your total was fourteen-seventy-two, and twenty-eight cents is fifteen, plus five dollars is twenty").

I'm rusty, but I still remember how to deal with people who gave us, say, $5 for a $2.13 bill, then handed us a quarter after we'd already punched $5 into the register.

For those who care: first, pull and put aside the bill change as rung up first (in this case, $2). Next, add $0.25 to the coin change* (in this case, it's $0.87 + $0.25 = $1.12) then pull and add the $1.12 and count out as follows: "from five dollars and twenty five cents, your bill was two dollars and thirteen cents, and twelve cents is two dollars and twenty five cents, and (handing over the ones) three - four - five dollars and twenty five cents.

So how could this have been prevented? Train the cashiers, for heaven's sake.

*Note: if you couldn't add $0.87 and $0.25 in your head, then validate it by adding the resulting $0.12 to the original bill to get $x.25, you weren't qualified to be a cashier and you would be demoted before training was over.
posted by davejay at 11:44 AM on April 7, 2005


Didn't anyone working have a screwy uncle?

9/11 unscrewed all the uncles...
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 11:45 AM on April 7, 2005


Isn't contributory negligence a defense in cases of negligence? I got sued once (in Maryland, where I live), and my lawyer tried to make a contributory negligence argument. It turned out to be moot since the jury found that I wasn't negligent in the first place, but I don't see how negligence is what you go after the Best Buy for in this instance. Surely there is some other tort at work here. IANAL, of course, but I can't imagine you can get out of any sort of liability for any sort of misbehavior (even in Baltimore) by showing that the other person did something wrong. Also, doing something wrong is not negligence. I think the customer here would have had to not do something that he was supposed to do.
posted by anapestic at 11:45 AM on April 7, 2005


I dunno. I'd probably pull a Tyler Durden (beat myself silly) before the secret service got there, sue the cops, Best Buy, etc.

The problem here is the man was arrested in the lawful use of legal tender.
I don't see how he is culpable for someone else's stupidity. And the idiocy of more than a few people. Where was the Best Buy manager?
The cops have never seen a $2?
Worse - the cops aren't aware of the law?

At the very least he should sue them for wrongful arrest and/or harrassment.
Not that he would win, but this is what bugs me about our "post 9/11" world. It's not the idiots with their willfull ignorance and bizarrely constructed self-justifying irrational paranoid fears (bordering on the pynchonoid - I mean how the hell does a bunch of $2 = terrorism?) ... or rather it is... but in addition to that it's that so many people just roll over for it.
We as a country talk the rugged individualist talk ("Don't tread on me" "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it any more" etc) but I haven't seen anyone walking the walk lately.
Of course, maybe it's just not in the press.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:46 AM on April 7, 2005


Speaking of that devil customer thing, doesn't the criteria for devil customer == smart/savvy consumer? Essentially, Best Buy wants to sell to people who don't understand how to manage their money effectively. That's kind of like a carpeting installation place trying to get as much business as possible from people who don't get second or third estimates. I mean, it's good business for THEM, but if you advertise this fact (like Best Buy did via those articles on the subject) then you'd have to be a fool to purchase from them, yes?
posted by davejay at 11:46 AM on April 7, 2005


Oh, wait, I answered my own question, didn't I: you WOULD have to be a fool to buy from them, and what better way to get the devil (aka smart/savvy) consumers from showing up at your store than to announce your idiots-only policy? Best Buy is shrewd, baby, shrewd.
posted by davejay at 11:47 AM on April 7, 2005


I went through a phase where I found $2 bills to be an interesting novelty. They are not hard to acquire- just go to any bank teller and ask for change in twos. One time the teller was thrilled to be rid of them, so she wouldn't have to count that denomination in her drawer at the end of her shift. She even asked the teller at the next window if she wanted to give me her twos as well.

What I don't understand: What kind of 'comic protest' is Mr. Bolesta staging by paying a $114 installation fee in $2 bills? What kind of reaction was he expecting? He knows that most people never see $2 bills, so he cannot act surprised when the clerk argues with him. If he really wanted to stage a 'comic protest', he should have paid with 114 one dollar bills. Making the blameless Best Buy clerk count them all would surely make him feel better about being screwed by the big box superstore.
posted by serafinapekkala at 11:47 AM on April 7, 2005


I never knew you could get those in bulk-- and I'll bet the Best Buy people didn't, either.

Banks will give you whatever change you want, if they have it. $2 bills, like all others, enter circulation via banks. Where did you think they came from? Secret airdrops?

I can't believe there are people in this thread who've never seen a $2 bill. I'm all of 21 and I've had several pass through my hands over the years.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 11:57 AM on April 7, 2005


What kind of 'comic protest' is Mr. Bolesta staging by paying a $114 installation fee in $2 bills?

I suppose a 'comic protest' is a protest-like gesture that amuses by virtue of being completely ineffective. So I imagine he was basically entertaining himself with the thought of paying with $2 as a protest that wouldn't actually be viewed as a protest by anyone but himself.

Note that I disagree with your statement that "He knows that most people never see $2 bills", because as a cashier (see my comment above) in a predominantly elderly-populated area, I used to see $2 bills and handfuls of Susan B. Anthony dollars on a weekly basis. So if I were in his situation, I certainly would have expected them to take the bills, but be amused by them.

Also, his past experience with the bills was delight at requesting them and delight when he handed them out, so I'm sure the last thing he thought would happen is that the $2 bills would be rejected outright, or would trigger counterfeit concerns.

This is in contrast with paying a $112 bill entirely with pennies, which WOULD be a valid form of protest, as it would be expected to significantly inconvenience the cashier and would therefore be viewed as an openly hostile act and would in fact likely be rejected as a form of payment (thereby making it a legitimate protest).
posted by davejay at 11:57 AM on April 7, 2005


Clevershark,

The Post Office seems to be one of the preferred ways to try to distribute new currency. When the US tried to launch both dollar coins, they would be given out as change at the Post Office first, hoping that it'd spread.

I think you can still get dollar coins whenever you buy stamps in one of their vending machines. They even had signs warning people of this, so they wouldn't get startled at the weird coins in their change.
posted by spinifex23 at 11:58 AM on April 7, 2005


I guess what I said wasn't entirely clear. I meant that contributory negligence can only be used as a defense against you when the tort you're suing for is negligence. Also, I can't see how the customer here was in any way negligent, so even if contributory negligence were a valid defense, Best Buy would be unable to raise it. Using two-dollar bills hardly qualifies as negligence.
posted by anapestic at 11:58 AM on April 7, 2005


Side note: I actually miss those Susan B. Anthony coins. I loved using them to pay for the bus, instead of repeatedly trying to shove my ratty old $1 bills into the bus change machine.
posted by davejay at 12:02 PM on April 7, 2005


He should have used Susan B. Anthony's or the gold Sacagaweas...or a mix. Or all pennies.
But not knowing the $2's are legal tender is their problem not his.
Ignorance is one thing, stupid is quite something else.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:03 PM on April 7, 2005


anapestic: my guess about Maryland law is based on two presumptions: (1) Maryland is a contrib state; and (2) Maryland analysis would be similar to Texas. The idea of contribution or comparative fault can work outside of the idea of negligence (though it derives from concepts of negligence). So say that a jury found that this guy was unlawfully detained (a false imprisonment claim). Best Buy could plead an affirmative defense that would permit a jury submission on the Plaintiff's comparative fault. So part of the jury question would be what percentage he was at fault. In my state, if the jury found the guy was 15% at fault, then his damages would be reduced by 15%. In a contrib state, if the Plaintiff is any percent at fault, he is barred from any recovery. So if the jury found this guy even remotely to blame for the misunderstanding that resulted in the false imprisonment, he would be barred from recovery. But as I said, I don't know Maryland's proportionate responsibility law.
posted by dios at 12:04 PM on April 7, 2005


dios, this has nothing to do with your politics; I'd just hate to be up on a charge with you as my lawyer.

"Well your honor, my client was clearly being uncooperative by claiming to the officer that he was waiting for a bus, so I think he should be charged with resisting arrest as well as loitering. As for the big Bus Stop sign, I suspect my client counterfeited it and hung it there himself just to cause trouble; maybe the charges should also reflect his intent to disturb the peace."

Then again, maybe you don't pretend to defend anybody or advocate for any clients. Maybe you're a patent attorney, or the guy who prints out eviction notices for Simulacrum Landing.
posted by davy at 12:06 PM on April 7, 2005


Re: Comic Protest...I think he should have paid in Pennies like this.
posted by schyler523 at 12:06 PM on April 7, 2005


...and all this time I thought those Susan B. Anthony things were quarters....

(and thanks for the explanation, dios)
posted by Floydd at 12:07 PM on April 7, 2005


well, I dunno about him, but I'm laughing that "stiff"ford lives in Cockeysville.....

For the record, I acquired the nickname while living in NY. Moving to Cockeysville was coincidental (and work related).

When I order stuff over the phone, "Cockeysville" usually does get a few giggles from the person taking my info.
posted by stifford at 12:08 PM on April 7, 2005


Ever meet anyone from Savage?
posted by breezeway at 12:15 PM on April 7, 2005


That's what you get when you decide to be a pain in the ass... just cuz.

Shouldn't have happened, no. But in a way, I don't feel sorry for him.
posted by Witty at 12:22 PM on April 7, 2005


davy: "Then again, maybe you don't pretend to defend anybody or advocate for any clients. Maybe you're a patent attorney, or the guy who prints out eviction notices for Simulacrum Landing."

Geez. And maybe you're a dick. Between you and 327.ca, who got the idea that the best way to respond to slight trolling was to be an asshole?

posted by koeselitz at 12:22 PM on April 7, 2005


1) I don't think he has to sue. All he has to do is keep telling everyone he knows what happened to him at Best Buy and make sure that they know he is telling everyone he knows. Write letters to Best Buy corporate with copies to newpapers, magazines, radio hosts. Make it public. They'll buy him off sure as shooting (can I say shooting in this post 9/11 world?).

and

B) Mouth breathing asshats is right. All of the common sense that respondents have noted regarding training of cashiers, familiarity with one's own country's currency (c'mon it's not like we have multicolored portraits of minor poets on our bills like some so-called countries) and treating the customer fairly in the first bjorking place (hey there's an idea!) are spot on.

I occasionally buy at BestBuy when I absolutely can't wait for Mac(or PC)Mall. But the bad experiences far outweigh the good. The only time I can say I was 1000% satisfied was when they had an open box sale on monitors & I picked up a flat screen job that was priced at $20 (should have been around $200--they sold for over $400 new at the time). I didn't try to sneak it by them--but their Stuponatron helmets were working for the forces of Good (me) instead of Evil (like in Ballamur). The "manager" (I've got underwear older than this kid) couldn't find any reason it shouldn't be $20, and walked it up to the registers with his personal approval (becaue I feared leg chains or some such). None of these moe-rons even gave it a second thought. America should eat its young.

But again, the bad vibes on other times have far outweighed that one on my side of the ledger.
posted by beelzbubba at 12:23 PM on April 7, 2005


So if the jury found this guy even remotely to blame for the misunderstanding that resulted in the false imprisonment, he would be barred from recovery.

He was paying with cash. On what basis would he be "even remotely to blame for the misunderstanding"?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 12:24 PM on April 7, 2005


Ever meet anyone from Savage?

I grew up maybe five miles from Savage, and now I live slightly farther away, and I can tell you that it's appropriately named.

Sadly, I have never had the chance to determine whether Cockeysville is also appropriately named.
posted by anapestic at 12:26 PM on April 7, 2005


Plus, why are we all assumed to be guilty?
Corporate power vs individual rights. Simple, get used to it, you are not as free as you think. That cashier is the representative of a much more powerful entity than you, a mere private citizen, a lowly 'consumer' if you will.

The problem here is the man was arrested in the lawful use of legal tender.
Fundamentally it seems, the man was arrested for being upset on company property which is not good for the company. See above.

Leg irons: really, really unbelievable. Facinating how a company employee can call that sort of humiliating retribution down on an individual. See above.

OTOH, who does this guy think he's going to 'get back at' or bother with this stunt. All he's going to accomplish is making life a little harder for a cashier who has absolutely no influence over their employers policies. If they hadn't arrested him, his influence wouldn't have extended beyond the cashier and their supervisor. The people he was really upset with would never have known or cared about it. See above.
posted by scheptech at 12:27 PM on April 7, 2005


I love 2 dollar bills, I always ask at banks if they have any, and sure enough usually one of the tellers has been collecting a stash and reluctantly gives them up.

I find they are particularly welcome as part of a tip, waiters often say something like "I can give this to my nephew for his birthday".

As kids we were always on the lookout for the ones marked "silver certificate" which were supposedly more valuable, although we never found that out for sure because we always spent them for candy.
posted by StickyCarpet at 12:29 PM on April 7, 2005


further thoughts...somewhere else today on MeFi is the proposed new law in FLA that will encourage the discharge of firearms if a crime can thus be thwarted.

So, Mr. Customer thinks he's being ripped off--a promised offer has been rescinded along with threats that he will have the law sicced on him if he doesn't immediately fork over cash (might NOT be a crime, but if I got a gat, it sounds like one to me).

The clerk, not realizing that it is the freedom-fry grease on her hands that's smearing the counterfeit pen thinks that the bogus-money crime is being perpetrated right under her eyes. Reaching into her garter-holster (ok, that's MY fantasy) she whips out her stylish beretta.

OMG, I ain't shopping in Florida! Oh, The Humanity!
posted by beelzbubba at 12:30 PM on April 7, 2005


Where do you people live that you've never seen a $2?

I had seen dozens by the time I was in Jr. High.

I can't say a year of my life has gone by that I've not seen at least one. And I only worked in retail for a year in college. I've not handled money for a job in over a decade.

$2 bills are rare like rainbows.
posted by Ynoxas at 12:34 PM on April 7, 2005


As kids we were always on the lookout for the ones marked "silver certificate" which were supposedly more valuable, although we never found that out for sure because we always spent them for candy.

They are more valuable, to a collector. A two dollar silver certificate is not the same as the two dollar bills currently in circulation, other than having a face value of two dollars.

I guess if someone tried to pay with silver certificates or 'bearer note' with a blue or red seal they would be hauled out in handcuffs, too. I like my old pre "In God We Trust" currency the best.
posted by fixedgear at 12:41 PM on April 7, 2005


And isn't it a crime to deface money?

No, only spending it afterwards.
posted by StickyCarpet at 12:43 PM on April 7, 2005


davejay, back when Baltimore's toy subway was new you had to use those Susan Bees. The fare machines didn't take bills, so they had change machines to convert 'em. It took years before those coins were commonly accepted in stores.

I think dollar coins became "obsolete" when Pepsi machines started charging a buck -- it was cheaper to start taking bills than to teach people about those funny-colored coins.

Just as a joke, try spending those JFK 50-cent pieces. Old people have seen 'em, but I doubt too many people under 25 have. ("No, it has nothing to do with Black History month!")

Oh and ontic, my two nieces (and my "baby" sister and her husband who works for Lucent or whatever that is now) live just down the street from Cockeysville. Baltimore's northern suburbs go, in order, Towson, Lutherville-Timonium (Lutherville was an old small town, Timonium is a cookie-cutter 1970s suburb, I don't know why they get lumped together and share a post office), Cockeysville and then Hunt Valley. North of Hunt Valley used to be horse farms, I don't know what's up there now; but since you're probably an alias for my sarcastic college-student niece, why don't you tell us? (Yes, I'm kidding. Please don't hurt me.)

Then koeselitz asked me: Between you and 327.ca, who got the idea that the best way to respond to slight trolling was to be an asshole?

I'd guess 327, as he got here almost four years before me, but I'm much better at it. Though if he wants to dispute that I'll gladly concede.

Oh and Ynoxas, I dimly remember when they brought $2 bills back as a Bicentennial thing; they were never very common in Baltimore back then, and I haven't seen many of 'em anywhere since. See the wikipedia article .
posted by davy at 12:49 PM on April 7, 2005


Paying in sequential two-dollar bills was stupid, but for the cashier to raise the counterfeit alarm is ludicrous; no firm is going to make fake bills under twenty and they would certainly be smarter then to bring them all to one place. The police made a major mistake in not simply verifying some of the print numbers on site, and an even bigger one putting him in leg irons. You have to handcuff someone, but leg cuffs is insane. Best Buy should issue an apology and a large reward for their failure, meanwhile the police should also issue an apology.

Those pens are absolutely worthless by the way. There was a great demonstration done by 'The Amazing Randi' from the Skeptics organization in front of a Congressional panel. He took a pen and ran it over a bill, and the mark was dark which suggested it was legal. Randi then turned the bill over and showed that the back was completely blank.

Davy : What is wrong with you? You have been gunning for Dios right out of the gate with crap like 'How much worse do your clients fare than if they'd represented themselves?' pestering him about lunch time and now you're calling him an eviction attorney when he's done nothing but answer questions calmly. How about you step away from the keyboard for a while and calm down?
posted by Vaska at 12:52 PM on April 7, 2005


This is so cool, by the way. (And thank you, NotMyself, for the link.) I guess I've just been under a rock for the past ten years. When I was a kid, we visited the Denver Mint, and they told us that they didn't make $2 bills anymore; I didn't know they'd started again. I'm going to ask for a stack at the bank next time I get money; I hope this doesn't happen to me, but I doubt it will.
posted by koeselitz at 1:00 PM on April 7, 2005


serafinapekkala, the protest part of the comic protest is that dealing with demoniations that don't have an assigned slot in a cash register are a pain in the ass. The comic part apparently wasn't as comic as he thought...
posted by phearlez at 1:01 PM on April 7, 2005


Uh Vaska, that was 327.ca who "pestered [dios] about lunch time", not me; please don't get us confused, I doubt he'll take it as a compliment. As for my current emotional state, actually I am calm and in a pretty decent mood.

I don't have to ask what's wrong with you, you just made it obvious.
posted by davy at 1:03 PM on April 7, 2005


Maybe this is Best Buy's new strategy for dealing with their 'devil customers':

SFGate Article
posted by jeffkramer at 1:08 PM on April 7, 2005


The next person who uses "in the post-9/11 world" in a serious sentence should be shot on sight, and people should dance on his/her grave.

I concur. They use it as if it's some magical catchphrase to absolve them of all responsibility. Revolting.


On the plus side I rarely ever hear "post-Columbine" anymore.
posted by Tenuki at 1:12 PM on April 7, 2005


...visited the Denver Mint, and they told us that they didn't make $2 bills anymore;

That might be 'cause the Denver Mint makes coins ;-)
posted by fixedgear at 1:14 PM on April 7, 2005


Metafilter: Rare like rainbows
posted by Pliskie at 1:15 PM on April 7, 2005


davy: "I don't have to ask what's wrong with you, you just made it obvious."

I know you are, but what am I?

posted by koeselitz at 1:15 PM on April 7, 2005


Didn't anyone working have a screwy uncle?

Perhaps, ontic, it's that they did have screwy older relatives, and that's how they knew this guy was a Freedom Hater.

Let me explain. When I was a wee one, I would receive a card from my great aunt Mary every year on my birthday, and in every card she'd tuck a crisp American $2 bill. See, she lived all her adult life in South Boston, whereas I grew up in Canada, so those $2 bills were doubly neato. I kept 'em in my little toy safe with my coin collection, and I had one in my wallet until I was in my twenties.

Well, old Aunt Mary passed on a few years back, and imagine my clan's collective surprise when they found an Al Qaeda sleeper cell working out of her pantry. We like to think Aunt Mary kicked the bucket intentionally just two weeks before that cell was scheduled to blow up Faneuil Hall, because it's hard to face the apparent truth: that the whole thing, from the kindly-old-aunt act to the family back in Nova Scotia to the Scottish heritage, was just a front for her fanatical commitment to Islamofascism. It's harder still knowing she used me to launder money for her terrorist group $2 at a time, but at least I'm no longer naive enough to believe that spinster South Boston aunts (and screwy older relatives generally) can be trusted.

And that is why, nowadays, I shoot $2-wielding senior citizens on sight.
posted by gompa at 1:17 PM on April 7, 2005


I've got $500 in $2's spread through my motorcycle jacket for bail money.
Far more impressive (I think) than whipping out 5 $100 bills.
Weirder anyway.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:18 PM on April 7, 2005


On the plus side I rarely ever hear "post-Columbine" anymore.

"Post-Red-Lake" maybe?

MetaFilter: where's always post-SOMETHING.

And koeselitz: you're a repeater of bad jokes that were old when the Marx Brothers were kids, for one thing.
posted by davy at 1:19 PM on April 7, 2005


the Denver Mint makes coins

And the Franklin Mint makes Harleys!
posted by davy at 1:22 PM on April 7, 2005


Davy : Zounds, your comeback leaves me breathless. I yield to thee and thy inimitable wit!

How many years do we have to wait before we're post-post-9/11? It's been more then four already and shows no signs of letting up. Obviously we all need to start using it in daily conversations. "Jeez Marge I'd love to mow the lawn, but it's dangerous in this post-9/11 world."
posted by Vaska at 1:23 PM on April 7, 2005


MetaFilter: where's always post-SOMETHING.

Even when one leaves out "it's"!
posted by davy at 1:23 PM on April 7, 2005


What scheptech said.

And I wouldn't want dios as my lawyer because he doesn't believe the one is innocent until proven guilty. He believes instead, in something he calls "security" by which he cannot mean the security of citizens to freely do that which harms no one, nor can it mean the security of citizens from wrongful imprisonment. Perhaps he means the security of corporations that their efforts for greater profits are not threatened by the freedoms of any individual.
posted by eustacescrubb at 1:26 PM on April 7, 2005


The article you requested is available only to registered members.

If you google the guy's name, the same article comes up, and for some reason you can see it without a registration. I've noticed this with other newspapers as well.

Just sayin'.
posted by Doohickie at 1:27 PM on April 7, 2005


How many years do we have to wait before we're post-post-9/11?

Good question. I don't have an answer; I've been wanting to yell "Get over it already!" since mid-October 2001.

ObTerrorism: Deir Yassin.
posted by davy at 1:28 PM on April 7, 2005


And isn't it a crime to deface money?

No, only spending it afterwards.


I remember contributing gleefully to an Internet-boom-era site called Where's George or somesuch. As a member, you were to enter the serial numbers for the bills in your wallet on the site, write "wheresgeorge.com" on the bill, and then spend as usual.

If someone else found the bill, followed the URL, and entered the serial number, you got the "ooo, cool" moment of seeing where your bill ended up.

Never quite worked out for me, until I found that someone had spent one of my dollars at a gas station in Boston, MA (about 200 miles away from where I lived at the time).
posted by thanotopsis at 1:32 PM on April 7, 2005


And I wouldn't want dios as my lawyer because he doesn't believe the one is innocent until proven guilty.

that's not quite true. based on his posts in other threads, it's very much apparent that dios believes that, if one is a republican politician, one is innocent until proven, beyond all possible doubt, guilty -- even if one has an extended pattern of malfeasance in one's background.
posted by lord_wolf at 1:43 PM on April 7, 2005


Why would anyone make counterfeit currency in such a low denomination? - Mayor Curley

Because it's less likely to be checked for counterfeiting. But it would be a pretty stupid crook who took a big pile of small-value fake bills to one place to make a major purchase.

But not knowing the $2's are legal tender is their problem not his. - Smedleyman

Are you suggesting a clerk should just blindly trust every customer who says "that's real money"? Yeah, it's a stupid situation when he knows positively that it's real money and they honestly don't. But just because it says "this note is legal tender" doesn't make that so. Every fake bill I've seen (and I saw a couple every week over the 3 years I managed a gas-station/convience store) said it was "legal tender".

no firm is going to make fake bills under twenty and they would certainly be smarter then to bring them all to one place. - Vaska

You don't know what you're talking about. There are two categories of criminals. Smart ones, and stupid ones. People DO fake small bills. In some ways, it's the smarter choice. They tend to get away with it longer than people who fake big bills. At the gas station, it was fairly easy to get our cashiers to check big bills, but nearly impossible to get them to pay attention to $5's and $10's. Guess what denominations of fake bills ended up being accepted the most?
posted by raedyn at 1:43 PM on April 7, 2005


I can't believe there are people in this thread who've never seen a $2 bill. I'm all of 21 and I've had several pass through my hands over the years. - IshmaelGraves

Yeah, it's weird. I'm Canadian who has been to the US only a handful of times, but I have an American $2 bill at home right now.
posted by raedyn at 1:43 PM on April 7, 2005


This is in contrast with paying a $112 bill entirely with pennies...

Isn't there a limit on the number of each denomination of coin that can be used at one time for legal tender?

Also, when I was growing $2 bills were considered bad luck (was that just a local thing?) - they sure turned out to be bad luck for this guy...
posted by fairmettle at 1:45 PM on April 7, 2005


Re: the sequential serial number issue - I run into this occasionally. My drivers license number is of the form:

8444445

I'll run into clerks when I'm paying by check who turn very suspicious once they see this. I always want to shout "Yes! You got me! I made a fake DL with that number instead of using 3074182 which you'd never have looked twice at! Take me away."

Maybe I should get some $2 bills...
posted by bitmage at 1:51 PM on April 7, 2005


does this mean I can finally start saying "as queer as a two dollar bill"?
posted by docpops at 1:53 PM on April 7, 2005


Dios wrote, "I think it's called something like security or safety. If I am not mistaken, those concepts require that people and places be watched to prevent bad things from happening. This is opposed to a concept where we just let things go freely without suspecting anyone or anything. I suppose we could just get rid of the whole idea of crime prevention if that would make you feel less put upon."

Somewhere, a devil's advocate is blushing and apologizing profusely.
posted by Rothko at 2:03 PM on April 7, 2005


There are currently ~60,000,000 bills entered into Where's George now. ~380,000 of them are $2 bills.
posted by mbd1mbd1 at 2:03 PM on April 7, 2005


davy: I'm under 25 and I've had a large number of JFK halves pass through my hands. I've got about $50 worth right now, in fact; I use 'em to pay for movie tickets and other smallish purchases.

I've also got a complete set of Franklin half-dollars, but I'm not going to be spending those anytime soon...
posted by ubernostrum at 2:18 PM on April 7, 2005


ubernostrum: Did you know '68 Kennedy halves are worth $34 dollars? 'Course ya gotta have 68 of 'em.
posted by StickyCarpet at 2:30 PM on April 7, 2005


My mother used to buy $50 worth of $2 bills from the bank, then have a local print shop bind/glue them together. She'd put them in a checkbook cover and give them out as Christmas gifts.

It was great to whip out a checkbook and just tear off the right amount of $2s.
posted by mrbill at 2:42 PM on April 7, 2005


Is your mother Steve Wozniak?
posted by punishinglemur at 2:46 PM on April 7, 2005


at least he wasn't killed
posted by delmoi at 2:51 PM on April 7, 2005


I guess if someone tried to pay with silver certificates or 'bearer note' with a blue or red seal they would be hauled out in handcuffs, too. I like my old pre "In God We Trust" currency the best.

I've been in line at the grocery before and had the person in front of me try to pay with this "old" currency. I've offered to trade the cashier straight up for it, at that point they look at the date and such and trade it out for themselves, but I do have a near mint 1950 $5 bill from this. I guess when cleaning up after parent/grandparents die people find these notes and don't think about why they're different or what they might be worth if they kept them in similar condition and passed them on to their kids/grandkids. Old currency can sometimes be worth a lot more than face value.
posted by Numenorian at 3:26 PM on April 7, 2005


>I've got $500 in $2's spread through my
> motorcycle jacket for bail money.


Smedleyman, what is it you do that they let you off for only $500 bail?
posted by Ken McE at 3:27 PM on April 7, 2005


I think he was probably handcuffed because he's 6' 5" more than any other reason. That doesn't make it right, but when you are that big, people tend to think you are threatening them if you don't smile enough.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:38 PM on April 7, 2005


Two bits... one, I used to work with the US Treasury in Washington, DC, and it was tradition for any retiring government person to receive a sheet of two dollar bills (I believe 50 in a sheet), that were "hand signed" by the Treasurer of the United States (which is not the same as the Secretary of the Treasury). This happened at least 5-6 times while I was there, and was paid for by those of us contributing a dollar or two to buy the uncut sheets. They're quite pretty, and the hand signature is obvious. Usually they were framed.

Second, I am unaware of anyone who has counterfieted anything under a $5, simply because the cost of making the counterfiet is going to exceed the face value. I believe 90% are $20s and the rest are $50s and above.

The fact that someone, working as the CASH HANDLER, for a large company is unaware of the valid denominations of bills in their own country demonstrates just how stupid we have become as a society. The first thing you teach someone is what the denominations are.

As for the sequential numbers, that is the more suspicious component of it, however if it were during banking hours, there is zero excuse for them not calling the bank, as it is likely the bank is quite aware of who comes in and gets stacks of $2 bills. Baring that, the police should have at most asked for him to accompany them downtown, and done so out of the sight of the general public.

People in this country are simply incapable of basic thought processes.
posted by petrilli at 3:40 PM on April 7, 2005


If Dios really is a vice president of walmart , it would explain quite a bit about his point of view on this post.
posted by R. Mutt at 3:52 PM on April 7, 2005


Do you have some basis to question my abilities to practice law? Or were you just being a prick because you don't agree with my politics?

It's funny how completely unlikable people have extreme political views. Coincidence? Perhaps it's easier to feel persecuted for one's politics than to admit that one is obnoxious, or that one comes across as a slack-jawed moron.

Sorry to derail. I'm just amused.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 3:53 PM on April 7, 2005


Two bits... one, I used to work with the US Treasury in Washington, DC, and it was tradition for any retiring government person to receive a sheet of two dollar bills (I believe 50 in a sheet),

Wouldn't a sheet of fifty two-dollar bills be eight hundred bits?
posted by anapestic at 4:04 PM on April 7, 2005


Isn't there a limit on the number of each denomination of coin that can be used at one time for legal tender?
You must not know what legal tender is.
An establishment could refuse a customer’s transaction.
posted by thomcatspike at 4:06 PM on April 7, 2005


The fact that someone, working as the CASH HANDLER, for a large company is unaware of the valid denominations of bills in their own country demonstrates just how stupid we have become as a society. The first thing you teach someone is what the denominations are.

EXACTLY
posted by chaz at 4:12 PM on April 7, 2005


I’d likes to hear what the SS told the guy. Too bad someone at Best Buy didn’t make a citizen’s arrest. A lot easier making a claim for false arrest & imprisonment.
posted by thomcatspike at 4:17 PM on April 7, 2005


The Lost Dog coffee shop in Shepherdstown, WV goes the extra mile to give odd change. $2 bills, dollar coins and half-dollar pieces. Regulars will aslo be treated to the occasional West Virginia State Quarter Special Edition: two dimes and nickel held together with duct tape.
posted by Dick Paris at 4:17 PM on April 7, 2005


EXACTLYChaz, she would call you stupid for not reading the article. Some of the $2 bills looked suspicious because their ink was smeared and it was another employee that pointed it out. This is not the $2 Taco Bell thread.

Did any one have the feeling after reading the article the man wrongfully arrested is not very upset just embarrassed? Recall his sons’ reaction when they asked for money from their father and he offered them the $2 currency.
posted by thomcatspike at 4:25 PM on April 7, 2005


The Lost Dog coffee shop in Shepherdstown, WV goes the extra mile to give odd change. $2 bills, dollar coins and half-dollar pieces. Regulars will aslo be treated to the occasional West Virginia State Quarter Special Edition: two dimes and nickel held together with duct tape.

The Nostalgia Shop in Columbia, MO goes out of it's way to give $2 bills and 50-cent pieces as change, as that is nostalgic.

Special edition quarter...heh...that's funny.
posted by schyler523 at 4:31 PM on April 7, 2005


Cool, I too could be sent to jail by Beast Buy right now!
posted by oats at 4:41 PM on April 7, 2005


I can't believe there are people in this thread who've never seen a $2 bill. I'm all of 21 and I've had several pass through my hands over the years. - IshmaelGraves

Yeah, it's weird. I'm Canadian who has been to the US only a handful of times, but I have an American $2 bill at home right now.
posted by raedyn at 3:43 PM CST on April 7 [!]

Your comment above this said you worked in a gas station. The gas station accepted US money? If so, you visiting the US may have no bearing here. If I'm wrong, then why would a Canadian gas station clerk check it's lower denomination currency. Because iirc each denomination is a different color?

It was common having $1 bills altered and try being passed as tens and 100s because they were the same color years ago. It worked if the cashier didn’t know which Presidents coincided with which bill denomination. Recall too, they changed most of the US paper dollars from one solid color green.
posted by thomcatspike at 4:43 PM on April 7, 2005


This is a good example of not having both sides of the story. I'll say first off that the BB employees and the cops overreacted , but I've worked customer serice enough times to know that some people out there are just assholes. And they'll go to great lengths to get what they want no matter the cost: to other people, their own dignity, whatever.

Again, it ended up ridiculous but I'm wondering what's between the lines that this guy's leaving out. There was some disagreement about an installation charge...if he was truly told it was free, wouldn't he hold the person accountable for the offer? Rather than the passive-agressive tactic with the $2 bills? And would the employees (plural, it seems) really call the cops so abruptly? Would the cops arrest him if he wasn't doing something else (causing a scene)?

To the above questions I don't have an answer....I just know how "good customers" can sometimes be. Then again, I know how "good cops" can be, too...
posted by zardoz at 4:49 PM on April 7, 2005


no bearing to your visits here.
Still trying to figure out why you could counterfeit small bills, yet it is Canada. Because the effort seems really like a waste. Again I've seen small bills altered into larger counterfeit bills. Awe here is my problem…in the US, one color green has been printed on our bills for so long that it would be a no brainier the currency you would counterfeit, 100s. So excuse my brain fart as to the small currency in Canada being different colors and one wanting to counterfeit them. I see how now it would be easy. By color one would barley glance at them.
posted by thomcatspike at 4:50 PM on April 7, 2005


why you would counterfeit small bills
posted by thomcatspike at 4:51 PM on April 7, 2005




Isn't there a limit on the number of each denomination of coin that can be used at one time for legal tender?
I did say your trasaction could be refused.
posted by thomcatspike at 5:24 PM on April 7, 2005


...similar to the Canadian ones listed below:

25 dollars if the denomination is 1 dollar;

10 dollars if the denomination is 10 cents or greater but less than 1 dollar;

5 dollars if the denomination is 5 cents;

25 cents if the denomination is 1 cent.

posted by fairmettle at 5:44 PM on April 7, 2005


You must not know what legal tender is.

...and you must not know what regulatory restrictions are.
posted by fairmettle at 5:53 PM on April 7, 2005


I tried to buy a Daewoo TV with nickels at Best Buy, and they anally raped me.
posted by fungible at 6:05 PM on April 7, 2005


Implying that 9-11 has anything to do with dealing with grumpy people in a box store is just absurd. Customers at Worst Buy were less dangerous on 9-10? Two dollar bills aren't even that rare. You have to be paranoid to assume that they are fake. People routinely pay in singles, just to be contrary. They should consider themselves lucky to get twos.

I worked my way through graduate school in coffee houses and restaurants. If you work with John Q Public, you need to suffer assholes wisely. Having someone arrested and humiliated is pretty extreme. I can only think of one Mefite I would that too. He claims, somewhat unconvincingly, to be a lawyer, but I digress
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 6:14 PM on April 7, 2005


trolls, flames, politics, humor, this thread's got it all.

so If I'm reading it right, he could only have paid up to 40$ of the amount in 2$ bills (or 1$ bills), and Best Buy could not reserve the right to refuse payment, because this would be considered a voluntary transaction?

In this regard legal tender laws do not pertain to voluntary transactions.
40 dollars if the denomination is 2 dollars or greater but does not exceed 10 dollars;

From reading the article, Best Buy called the man and threatened to call the police and arrest him if he didn't come down and pay the installation fee that they claimed to have waived. All this after discovering that both stereos that he got failed to fit in his son's car. So he comes down to voluntarily pay, and they arrest him anyway. I think best buy is definitely setting a new low standard here.
posted by djdrue at 7:50 PM on April 7, 2005


i passed a fiver with www.everlastingblort.com on it today. i expect a veritable traffic spike.
posted by quonsar at 8:19 PM on April 7, 2005


My first question was, what is Best Buy doing with leg irons? That's some medieval gear.
posted by Rothko at 8:47 PM on April 7, 2005


I read this story this morning.
Went to the bank and got 10 $2 bills + 3 Susan B. Anthonys + 2 Sacagaweas.
Went to lunch and paid with 3 $2 + SusanB. No problem. Some people are actually intelligent about this.

,dave
posted by davebarnes at 9:01 PM on April 7, 2005


Christ, you folks have never been to a racetrack. That's the whole reason we still have the $2!

(In Michigan, state law says that all businesses have to accept up to 99? in Canadian currency for any transaction, but plenty of shady businesses will argue. Just like the shitty liquor stores that won't give you your deposit back.)
posted by klangklangston at 9:32 PM on April 7, 2005


I tried to buy a Daewoo TV with nickels at Best Buy, and they anally raped me.

And that was before you bought the warranty extension program, right?
posted by AlexReynolds at 10:29 PM on April 7, 2005


Monticello gives crisp new $2 bills for change when you buy your admission at the front gate.
posted by candyland at 4:53 AM on April 8, 2005


I tried to buy a Daewoo TV with nickels at Best Buy, and they anally raped me.

I don´t know why but I just laughed for like 5 minutes after i read that.
posted by LouieLoco at 7:03 AM on April 8, 2005


I tried to buy a Daewoo TV with nickels at Best Buy, and they anally raped me.

There was no causal relationship between these events.
posted by kindall at 11:31 AM on April 8, 2005


Monticello gives crisp new $2 bills for change when you buy your admission at the front gate.

That is true. I was down there in the middle of March (I'm Canadian) and I got a $2 bill as part of my change. I was surprised, and left it for a tip for the waitress at Michie Tavern.
posted by joshshmenge at 11:51 AM on April 8, 2005


Ken McE: Smedleyman, what is it you do that they let you off for only $500 bail?

Speeding for one. Some states can require you to pay a bond to cover a speeding ticket or put you in jail.
posted by Mitheral at 2:18 PM on April 8, 2005


Monticello gives crisp new $2 bills for change when you buy your admission at the front gate.

Has the price of admission gone up? I'm trying to remember what it was when I was there a couple of years ago, because we received our change in the form of Sacies. Ah, Monticello, fighting the good fight for endangered currency forms everywhere!
posted by Dreama at 3:20 PM on April 8, 2005


Smedleyman, what is it you do that they let you off for only $500 bail?
Speeding for one.

You took my answer Mitheral!
It's odd how I can blow past cops in my car while I'm suited and tied, but go 1 mile an hour over the limit on a bike...
That and it might make good bribe money in Chicago.


Businesses are therefore free to insist on payment
by credit card, for example, or to refuse larger denomination banknotes.

Bummer.
But can you be forced to pay a bill in the bill collectors chosen form?


Are you suggesting a clerk should just blindly trust every customer who says "that's real money"?


[parses sentences to see if "clerk should have blind trust" = "clerk is stupid"]

Nope. I'm not saying that. I'm saying she could have picked up a phone or called a manager or asked others in line or called the secret service or checked the web or used her lifeline - whatever - to see if there is in fact such a thing as a $2 bill. Or the manager could have. Or the cops could have.
From that point it's a judgement call to see whether the guy is counterfeiting them.
But then why trust those who pay with $20's or $100's or who use a credit card?
I've done some menial jobs in my time, but I have intellectual curiosity. It mostly got me into trouble on those menial jobs, but it's why I'm not still doing menial jobs.
If I didn't know anything about $2's I'd ask, I'd go and find out.
What I'm condemning is that lack of initiative being taught in our "post 9/11" world.
That the answer is to summon the authorities who somehow know better than we do.
Authorities who in this case put an innocent man in leg irons and waited for even higher up authorities.
It's always been there in the corporate world (Best Buy, McDonalds, etc.) and in fact has always been an undercurrent in the U.S. (watching "The Day the Earth Stood Still" reminded me of that) but people should know better.
There's nothing wrong with not knowing something, but plenty wrong with not wanting to know.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:16 PM on April 8, 2005


To me, it seems like there is an extended chain of stupidity in the article starting with Best Buy screwing up the installation, the guy trying to jerk a clerk around by paying with $2 bills, the clerk for not knowing what the heck a $2 bill is, the cop for making a big show of leg irons probably thinking that he has cracked a major counterfitting ring.

From the article, the leg irons were put on by the police while he was waiting at the police station, not at Best Buy.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 5:18 PM on April 8, 2005


METAFILTER: an extended chain of stupidity .... no wait....
posted by R. Mutt at 7:12 PM on April 8, 2005


No, wait...
posted by R. Mutt at 8:42 PM on April 8, 2005


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