How People Count Cash
October 14, 2009 2:11 PM   Subscribe

I press "Balance Inquiry" then "checking"...
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 2:20 PM on October 14, 2009 [2 favorites]

I count it by making it rain. 52 Benjamin pickup.
posted by clearly at 2:31 PM on October 14, 2009 [2 favorites]

I sort the coins into different categories: nickels, dimes, quarters, etc..
posted by gagglezoomer at 2:32 PM on October 14, 2009

I finish by checking against the Tango count.
posted by mazola at 2:40 PM on October 14, 2009

I don't do this while I'm sitting at the table. There's time enough for counting when the dealing's done.
posted by GuyZero at 2:42 PM on October 14, 2009 [22 favorites]

This reminds me of the movie The Counterfeiters. One of the methods they use to make their money more realistic is to pin prick the corners of the notes because the British fastened them together with a safety pin. I assumed it was true because... well it was a Holocaust movie. However, I can't seem to find the right google search terms to find out more about it.
posted by spec80 at 2:44 PM on October 14, 2009

I count Cash as one of the best things that ever happened to the genre we call "country".
posted by everichon at 2:45 PM on October 14, 2009 [2 favorites]

I'm not sure that I ever saw anyone count cash that way in "Africa"*

posted by carmen at 2:45 PM on October 14, 2009

Being a boring guy in America with a credit card, I've never handled large amounts of cash.
I was impressed when the man I bought my used car from counted my $5500 in seconds using method #1 in the video. It was amazingly. and totally new to me.
posted by cccorlew at 2:47 PM on October 14, 2009

I think that in Zimbabwe they count it with front-end loaders.
posted by everichon at 2:48 PM on October 14, 2009 [6 favorites]

My favorite was the Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan and parts of Turkey method. Slow and steady wins the race!
posted by pravit at 2:49 PM on October 14, 2009

Was this supposed to be some slam on "Turkmenistan, Kazakistan (sic?), Pakistan, and some parts of Turkey"?

Who counts a big stack of bills by spreading them all out one by one on the table?

The others looked semi-legit, but I've never been to Asia. Also, what about Western Europe and South America? Same as England, Canada, U.S.?
posted by mrgrimm at 2:49 PM on October 14, 2009 [1 favorite]

Noted that all the currency pictured was crisp and new and the same denomination.To deal with the crumpled/folded bills that actually show up, e.g., in a free will offering basket, I prefer to sort using rubber fingertips. Next is a thorough hand washing.
posted by Cranberry at 3:08 PM on October 14, 2009 [1 favorite]

This is the sort of neat little tidbit that would be great in a Bourne or Ocean's type of film. (Clooney voiceover, as they watch on a hijacked video circuit: "Al-Hama claims to be Saudi, but obviously he's an Afghan by the way he counts his winnings. Watch your backs, everyone. You too, Tess.")

Obviously it's not hard and fast, especially in an immigrant-heavy society like America. I don't find anything but the last method sensible, but then I've been doing it all my life. I have seen a couple of the other ways used and always assumed that people just chose whatever worked best for them, but clearly it's probably heavily cultural.
posted by dhartung at 3:40 PM on October 14, 2009 [2 favorites]

Neat. If spies were watching me, they would be able to correctly identify me as being from America, Canada, or England.
posted by arcticwoman at 4:02 PM on October 14, 2009

Who gets the most paper cuts?
posted by bloomicy at 4:52 PM on October 14, 2009

I don't know about China and Korea, but the "Asian" method is spot on for Japan. I've been here years and I *still* can't do it
posted by zardoz at 5:05 PM on October 14, 2009

The second one was making me nervous just to watch. If I counted crisp bills like that, I'd wind up with nubs for fingers. I've seen the first one a lot, but never noticed it being people from any particular area.

This was actually really interesting. It's funny what you do and don't notice.
posted by Houstonian at 5:05 PM on October 14, 2009

However you count money, make sure you can see the entire face of the bill. An old stand-by of counterfeiters is to clip the corners of higher denominations and apply them to smaller bills. If you're only looking at the corners, you may miss the portrait of Lincoln on that fifty.

(former bank teller)
posted by Eideteker at 5:40 PM on October 14, 2009 [1 favorite]

This was fascinating until the end where it asked me how I count my money, and after watching all that… I just don't know any more. I *think* I do it like my fellow Brits.
posted by nowonmai at 5:45 PM on October 14, 2009

Seems to be taken from an ad for a counting machine.

FWIW, in Australia I believe the common method is much the same as the British/American method, though we tend to use tables or shop counters.

There's an interesting question the video leaves out though: how do you deal with denominations? That is, the video shows the second pass, counting the number of 20s; what's the first pass, from the wad of cash? I can see at least three obvious methods: (1) Deal out denomination piles onto a surface; (2) Sort like a hand of cards; (3) Make "packets" of a larger denomination eg $100.

The hand of cards thing is somewhat relevant, shuffling methods vary from country to country too.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 5:57 PM on October 14, 2009

I don’t get the ones that rely on tensioning the bills in strange ways (like how the “Russians” do it). Seems like they’re needlessly complicated.
posted by Garak at 6:37 PM on October 14, 2009

The Asian one in Singapore and Malaysia... but I think I've seen Indian moneychangers there use the second method as well. And folding a bill to wrap it around each group when finished.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 6:48 PM on October 14, 2009

When I briefly worked in a bank that was a serious part of my training. We were taught to "walk the money."

Two damp fingers [thanks to a wet sponge in a small plastic dish] in a walking action. I tried to resist, but not in a rude way. "Give me a freaken break. I know how to count money. Walk the money? Pffft."

But they were deadly serious. Do it our way or you're fired. After a small amount of practice I found it to be quite a good method.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:37 PM on October 14, 2009

The African method looks as dodgy as fuck.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:48 PM on October 14, 2009

I haven"t seen any people in Turkey who counts the money like that! And yes, I know all parts.
posted by azar at 9:09 PM on October 14, 2009 [1 favorite]

Being a boring guy in America with a credit card, I've never handled large amounts of cash

I'm not going to claim I'm boring, exactly, but I am an American with plastic.

On the other hand, I have handled large sums of money in cash. Thirty thousand dollars in cash on average, every night, counted by hand. I worked at the main gift shop at an amusement park in California (not THAT one) and I did cash handling there. Lots and lots of cash handling.

You know how your wallet feels at the end of a trip to Disneyland, kind of empty and bare? Imagine your wallet and the wallet of that that woman with the annoying kid who screamed for an hour in line ahead of you at the Matterhorn, and the wallet of that guy who bought his kids a tiara and then your daughter whined about wanting a tiara too until you snapped at her and made her cry and your spouse glared at you the rest of the day for making the family Disneyland trip a disaster. All those wallets, and all those guilty parents, do add up. And that's not even counting the people who paid with plastic!

There's a lot of money floating around the world and I guess it doesn't surprise me that there's a lot of different ways to count it. I admit that it looks 'funny' to count money any other way that the way I'm familiar with, but knowing what a pain it can be to count that much cash (your wrist starts to hurt), I'm sure the bank tellers and cash handlers of each culture have developed the most efficient ways they can to get it done.
posted by librarylis at 9:37 PM on October 14, 2009

I'm not sure that I ever saw anyone count cash that way in "Africa"* (Ghana)

carmen, I am not sure when you got to Ghana, but have you ever seen people counting old cedi? The "new" cedi was introduced in July 2007 by dropping, um, 4? zeros from the old values. So 10,000 old cedi became 1 new cedi overnight. The range of values for bills also changed overnight, with coins being reintroduced for the first time since some hyperinflation a decade or more before.

To buy anything worth anything (e.g. a TV, computer, imported groceries at GAME), you carried bags of old cedi. (The posters advertising this transition, and its convenience and safety, were awesome!) A big store (e.g. GAME) would have a money counter for automatic counting - everichon is on the right track, but wrong scale. Lesser places did indeed count in this method, usually with the money bound together in a rubber band or folded over in half (if it wasn't a ginormous wad).

With the new cedi, fewer people have the capital required to make that kind of counting. The old bills were legal tender for a limited amount of time, and in pretty bad shape to begin with, so I imagine they are all disappeared now.

And yeah, the Japan counting is incredibly accurate, as is the US style. The spread-the-bills-everywhere method is madness. I will ask some of the Kazakhs around me to confirm or explain, and report back.
posted by whatzit at 10:28 PM on October 14, 2009

In Uzbekistan - where the highest denomination banknote is worth 50 Euro cents! - they also use the Kazakhstan method. (mrgrimm - I believe Kazakhstan and Kazakistan are equally acceptable alternatives.) But then, almost everyone, even at the bazaar, has an electric counting machine.

In Afghanistan I once sold a truck, met the buyer in his bazaar stall, and spent two hours counting the crumpled notes and rejecting the smeared ones, the foreign ones, the newspaper ones, the cut-in-half ones, until we had more or less reached the agreed price. By then, night had fallen, and I crept out through the bazaar clutching a plastic shopping bag full of notes to my chest - scary. We had used the Turkmenistan method, however: it was the only way to check one by one.
posted by aqsakal at 11:25 PM on October 14, 2009 [5 favorites]

Great story, aqsakal! Interesting that the "Turkmenistan" method is implying that they're checking for defective bills - in that case, to be truly accurate, they should have added an extra "rub the bill between your thumb and forefinger" step for counting money in China.
posted by pravit at 4:43 AM on October 15, 2009

We had used the Turkmenistan method, however: it was the only way to check one by one.

Yeah, as an amateur magician, I can tell you that every single one of those methods (with the exception of the Turkmenistan Method) invites (nay, begs) the possibility of a double lift. One hand feeding another hand that's already got bills in it means you have absolutely no idea if the bills are actually moving from one to the other.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:16 AM on October 15, 2009

In 20 dollar bills, same as in town.
posted by DU at 8:37 AM on October 15, 2009

A guess: the spread the bills everywhere method is meant to show that the bills are being counted correctly to someone else, like the person that's just handed over the money perhaps.
posted by pharm at 12:39 PM on October 15, 2009

watzit, I spent most of my time in Ghana post-new-cedi, so ya. I was also sorta commenting on the lumping of "Africa" into a single undifferentiated category, when everywhere else was broken down into countries.
posted by carmen at 6:50 AM on October 17, 2009

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