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Best Buy Has Man Arrested for Using $2 Bills 2088

An anonymous reader writes "Mike Bolesta of Baltimore thought he would protest Best Buy's not-so-great customer service and pay his bill with 57 $2 bills. For his trouble he got to spend some time in the county lock-up." From the article: "..Bolesta was contacted by the store, and was threated with police action if he did not pay the [installation] fee he was told before did not exist. As a sign of protest, Bolesta decided to pay using only $2 bills, which he has an abundance of because he asks his bank for them specifically. Unfortunately for him, the cashier did not seem to understand that the $2 bill is indeed legal US tender, since the bill itself is not often used. After rudely refusing to take the money, the cashier accepted the bills, only to mark them as though they were conterfeit."
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Best Buy Has Man Arrested for Using $2 Bills

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  • by Prophetic_Truth ( 822032 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @08:23PM (#12182596)
    the cashier may have been stupid, but what cop would lock you up for using $2 bills? Shouldn't a government employee know of such dominations? I was under the impression cops need evidence before arresting you.
  • Disgusting (Score:5, Insightful)

    by xstonedogx ( 814876 ) <> on Friday April 08, 2005 @08:24PM (#12182607)
    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."

    Yeah, potentially counterfeit (as judged by a Best Buy employee!) $2 bills are top on my priority list after 9/11. It's so I can't even sleep at night. Thank god we've got people like "spokesman" Bill Toohey protecting us. I don't know what's scarier: That he'd say something like that, or that there's probably a couple hundred million Americans who would nod their heads in "understanding".

    This story has everything: Evil Best Buy. Stupid and ignorant employees with a bizarre sense of power and no sense of customer service. Questionable law enforcement policies. Idiot using 9/11 as the ultimate cop-out.

    The only problem with the story is that this time the Feds came in and the situation got better.

    Mr. Mike Bolesta, please do not rest until everyone responsible for this debacle is severely reprimanded, fined, or has their employment terminated. They are your oppressors. Rise up against them.
  • 9/11? WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cutriss ( 262920 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @08:24PM (#12182608) Homepage
    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."


    I had better not find myself jaywalking next time I go to Otakon, or else I might get shot on sight. You know how those terrorists are always committing minor felonies and misdemeanors...
  • by suso ( 153703 ) * on Friday April 08, 2005 @08:27PM (#12182624) Homepage Journal
    Unfortunately for him, the cashier did not seem to understand that the $2 bill is indeed legal US tender

    So the headline should say "BestBuy cashier broke the law".
  • by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @08:28PM (#12182638) Homepage Journal
    Jeez, where does it say that Best Buy arrested him?

  • It's been 30 years since I've seen a $2 bill, but I don't work in retail.

    People typically don't work in retail very long, and retail sales people often aren't 30 years old, so there must be many who have never seen a $2 bill.
  • by t_allardyce ( 48447 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @08:34PM (#12182707) Journal
    It seems like the police and other institutions in America love to use their 'free' 24 hour arrest period as a kind of on the spot punishment for anyone they don't like. they can be either held on something specific like suspicion of fraud or just for that old catch-all 'disorderly conduct'. I would imagine stores like best buy also like to use this for annoying customers - just call up and claim something arrestable is going on and who are the cops going to believe, some guy, or a reputable store? Was it even fucking necessary to handcuff this guy? i thought cuffs were only for uncooperative people and maybe transporting? There can't be much in the way of compensation if you get locked up for absolutely nothing, and in some cases people get more than 24 hours without lawyers! So just remember, if you come accross a bad cop, they can have you for a day for so much as walking funny or, and lets face it this is the real reason, paying a bill with to many small notes - don't give me that "we didn't know $2 bills wer legal and the ink looked dodgy", they were just pissed off because he was playing with them - the $2 and running ink was just a ticket for them to call the cops.
  • by ari_j ( 90255 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @08:36PM (#12182730)
    Well, it's not necessarily stupid per se, but there will hopefully be a few lawsuits over this bullshit. False arrest, defamation, etc. And I think Best Buy should be charged criminally with refusing to accept legal US currency, if that's a law anywhere on the books.
  • Re:9/11? WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MikeXpop ( 614167 ) <mike.redcrowbar@com> on Friday April 08, 2005 @08:40PM (#12182770) Journal
    In the post-9/11 world, you can blame your stupidity on living in the post-9/11 world.
  • by happymedium ( 861907 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @08:42PM (#12182795)
    Now if I sent Best Buy 57 $2 credit card transactions, and they banned my IP, that would be one of this took place online.
  • by angryflute ( 206793 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @08:42PM (#12182796) Homepage
    Seeing stories like these makes me feel less inclined to step into a Best Buy unless I really need to. I'm finding better deals and less hassle through online stores anyway.

    Best Buy really needs to get its act together and start a new focus on customer service. Otherwise, they're going to lose a significant amount of their business to online retailers, and others that are still bricks-n-mortar.
  • by FuturePastNow ( 836765 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @08:42PM (#12182803)
    To paraphrase a poster on (can't give you an exact quote, they spilled beer on their database :) "I feel sorry for the Secret Service agent. You train for years to bust big counterfeiters, and then you get called for this."

    It's a well known fact that Best Buy hires only the stupidest people it can find, but a cop ought to at least know what currencies are legal.
  • Re:9/11? WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by imsabbel ( 611519 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @08:45PM (#12182840)
    You know, its the new september that never ended...

    Would be a good excuse.
    "sorry im late for the examn, but in this post 9/11 world, nobody can be sure to arrive in time"
    "sorry i could not finish the project, in this post 9/11 world i needed to check for terrorists which cost too much time..."
    seems only to work for state authorities.
  • Impressions (Score:2, Insightful)

    by EmbeddedJanitor ( 597831 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @08:45PM (#12182843)
    I was under the impression cops need evidence before arresting you. You have this impression because Uncle Sam wants you to have it.

  • First Best Buy was on Slashdot for allegedly abusive practices concerning rebates. Now this. Does Best Buy management have any more sink-the-company ideas?

    The correct way to handle this was for Best Buy top management to apologize to everyone, and give the guy whatever he wants from the store free. Apparently they still haven't done that.

    If it were me, if I were the Best Buy CEO, I would be on the phone now, saying to the guy, "Can I personally deliver our top-of-the-line home theatre to your house in 30 minutes? It's free. In return, I need you to sign this form accepting our sincere apologies." Then all the stories would be about what a great deal the guy got.

    But no. Now that Osama bin Laden showed the way, everyone has to imitate violent extremist fundamentalist Arabs now, don't they? Treat everyone else with hostility.
  • by marbike ( 35297 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @08:53PM (#12182913)
    but there will hopefully be a few lawsuits over this bullshit.

    Come on. At most this guy deserves a refund for them charging for a service they had said they were going to do free of charge.

    He has a right to lodge a complaint against the police for a bad arrest, but does he really deserve some huge settlement for it? If he did win a lawsuit against the department it would just effect the taxpayers of that area. Ever wonder why thing cost so much these days? It is because consumers have to bear the weight of these constant lawsuits.

    I swear, the American facination for Free Money by way of suing someone disgusts me. That is the thing that most makes me embarrased about being an American. Everyone wants to make a quick buck for being wronged, but all that really happens is that the companies being sued pass on the expense to their consumers.
  • by Dracos ( 107777 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @08:59PM (#12182973)
    I was under the impression cops need evidence before arresting you.

    Oh, you obviously missed the DMCA and the Patriot Act. The latter was passed by Congress without a single Senator or Representative having read it.

  • by kfg ( 145172 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @09:00PM (#12182974)
    I haven't been arrested for it, but I did once have a cashier refuse to take a two until her manager told her it was ok.

    "I don't know what makes for a good wrongful arrest suit. . ."

    Being wrongfully arrested will do it, especially on the unsubstantiated complaint of an individual. He's got a good case if he really wants to be a prick to Best Buy, and who wouldn't want that?

    The police/DA/judge fucked up big time too, as there obviously wasn't suffcient evidence to generate a legitimate warrant on a conterfeiting charge, like, possession of a bill deemed to be counterfeit by an expert and alleged to have been passed by the guy, and since the guy apparently was not apprehended in the act (no, I haven't read the article), a warrant should have been necessary.

    If he were apprehended in the act, the converstaion should have gone something like this:

    "Officer, he's trying to give me two dollar bills!"

    "Yeah. So? What are you, some kind of moron?"

    Unless, of course, the officer was some kind of moron.

    Of course, thanks to the city of New London, CT the public should be more aware that they are often tested for that before being allowed to join the force (over intelligence is deemed to create job dissatisfaction with the role of police officer, or at least that's how they like to explain it these days. In the old days they were more honest in admiting that they wished police to function as automatons).

  • by Evil Butters ( 772669 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @09:00PM (#12182980)
    For those of you who watch Jay Leno and the "Jay Walking" portion, you would probably be very surprised by just how much the general public at large doesn't know. I would assume the show probably edits the segment to the best/dumbest people, but I still believe there is a lot of truth (as oppsoed to being completely scripted) in just how dumb the average person really is. Now, ask them something about Britney Spears or some new reality TV show, and I am sure they would be able to talk you to death. Ask them about the $2 bill and watch the look of puzzlement on their face. Very sad...
  • by blanks ( 108019 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @09:04PM (#12183010) Homepage Journal
    This wouldn't have happened from 1 single moron. It would have required 1 moron, 1 managment moron (I belive managers are the only people at most places like this allowed to call the cops) and at least 1 or more police officers, and it only got taken care of once the secret service was called in.

    Its not like a single cashier held this person here, and arrested them, many people were involved in this fuck up.
  • by lgftsa ( 617184 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @09:22PM (#12183164)
    When the officer came, he noticed that the bills all had sequential serial numbers - apparently a common sign in counterfeit currency.

    Identical numbers is believable, for a simple copying setup, but sequential? Whatever mechanism a counterfeiter has to add serial numbers to the unnumbered bills coming off the copier/printer, making it a non-repeating psuedo-random sequence, or simply adding 4357 instead of 1 for each cycle, is trivial.
  • by thelizman ( 304517 ) <hammerattack @ y a h o o . c om> on Friday April 08, 2005 @09:23PM (#12183165) Homepage
    here []

    It's not just Best Buy. It's the moron manager, the idiot cashiers, and the dumb-fucking cop. I hope this guy sues the shit out of not only the store, but the police department. People get sequential serial numbers on money all the time, especially when they get their money from banks.
  • by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @09:23PM (#12183168) Homepage Journal
    As a "mere foreigner" you have an unfair advantage -- you haven't had a chance to absorb the folklore that "everybody knows".
  • by ( 217798 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @09:27PM (#12183210) Homepage
    I am not a lawyer.

    From the research that I have done, it seems like Best Buy was obligated to accept the payment because they had already provided the service and he was paying a debt.

    Here is an excerpt from an interesting article I found on Legal_tender_in_the_United_States []
    Legal tender in the United States

    As laid down in the United States Coinage Act of 1965, all coins and currencies of the United States, regardless of when coined or issued, shall be legal-tender for all debts, public and private, public charges, taxes, duties and dues.

    However, US federal law does not restrict private businesses, persons or organisations in what methods of payment they choose to accept or refuse. Businesses are therefore free to insist on payment by credit card, for example, or to refuse larger denomination banknotes. Even further though, legal tender laws do not preclude businesses from choosing to reject U.S. dollars for payment altogether. In this regard legal tender laws do not pertain to voluntary transactions.

    However, when the transactions are non voluntary such as in the payment of a debt, any legal tender must be accepted.

    Another excerpt from the previous webpage

    As legal tender can be refused until a person is in debt, vending machines and transport staff do not have to accept the largest denomination of banknote for a single bus fare or bar of chocolate, and even shopkeepers can reject large banknotes. However, restaurants that do not collect money until after a meal is served would have to accept any legal tender, though they would not be obliged to provide change - the restaurant is not in debt, it has been given a gift.

    Related Court Cases: ourt=us&vol=110&invol=421 []
  • by Fnkmaster ( 89084 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @09:44PM (#12183325)
    Everyone is talking about suing Best Buy. If this happened to me, I would sue the county for the outrageously reprehensible behavior of their police officer. Seriously. Best Buy didn't arrest the guy, the cop did, on suspicion of using a 2 dollar bill? Fucking moron should be shot.
  • by Tassach ( 137772 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @09:46PM (#12183346)
    Indeed. I'm very tempted to go to the Cockeysville best buy tomorrow with a $2 bill, a couple Suzie B's and Sacejaweia dollars, 50cent pieces, and whatever other unusual currency I have around and buy something.
  • by totoanihilation ( 782326 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @09:48PM (#12183361)
    Yeah... In Canada, the 1$ bills have been taken out of circulation probably over a decade ago, and the 2$ bills were replaced maybe in '98-'99...
    Both were replaced by large coins, making everybody's pockets MUCH heavier...
    Odds are the clerk at the store was too young to remember even seeing those bills.
  • by Piquan ( 49943 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @09:48PM (#12183363)

    The article says that he used to give kids $2 bills as lunch money. It's an uncommon item, and the kids thought it was neat. A source of some amusement.

    Now his son doesn't want to take them, because of the trouble it caused. What's the lesson? Straying from the norm gets you in trouble. A little uniqueness used to be a source of amusement, now it's a source of fear. I feel sad about this.

    It reminds me of the Harry Chapin song, "Flowers Are Red".

  • by HexRei ( 515117 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @09:53PM (#12183404)
    Reasonable grounds to detain him are not the same as reasonable grounds to cuff the main and leave him cuffed in front of other people in the store. This makes him look like a criminal regardless of the fact that he is merely a suspect, and only barely so.
  • by Morlark ( 814687 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @09:58PM (#12183433) Homepage
    This comment got me thinking. It seems that US currency has gone through many different changes over the years, and yet it's all still legal tender, resulting in a confusing mish-mash of coins and bills and whatnot. Is there any reason why all this currency is kept as legal tender? Here in the UK, when a new coin is introduced the old one is gradually phased out, with lots of public notices about the change. Then after a while the old coin ceases to be legal tender, although it can still be exchanged at banks. This seems to me to be a far more sensible solution, as it avoids the confusion that can occur when there are many different coins of the same denomination.
  • by Whyte ( 65556 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @10:00PM (#12183446)
    Identical numbers is believable, for a simple copying setup, but sequential? Whatever mechanism a counterfeiter has to add serial numbers to the unnumbered bills coming off the copier/printer, making it a non-repeating psuedo-random sequence, or simply adding 4357 instead of 1 for each cycle, is trivial.

    We can count out professional criminals (intelligent and organized) since there is no economy of scale for counterfeiting $2 bills.

    That said, the rest of the criminal gene pool for this type of activity is probably too stupid to even think of using a "non-repeating pseudo-random sequence".

    These are the type of people that buy a soda with their own credit card just prior to committing armed robbery in the very same store. As a cheap source of comedy, however, stupid criminals do serve a greater purpose in society.
  • by Chmarr ( 18662 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @10:00PM (#12183447)
    Oh my goodness... I think what another posted said should really apply to you... I think YOU weren't hugged enough as a child.

    Really... I've NEVER had anyone complain - except for that brief moment of confusion about where to put them - about the 2s... and I've had tons of people get a smile on their face on getting more 2s in one hit then they've seen in their entire lives.

    Quite simply, it's cool. It puts a little something unusual into people's lives... makes an otherwise boring, same-old-same-old, day for these counter clerks into something to remember... at least for a few hours.
  • by akintayo ( 17599 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @10:01PM (#12183455)
    The ticket machines for some train lines also use them. NJTransit the new jersey rail company has ticket machines that accept both Susan Bs and the new dollars, and also dispenses them as change.

    Other than that I haven't see them in circulation.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 08, 2005 @10:03PM (#12183463)
    > that the 2-dollar bills were SEQUENTIAL and the INK ON THE BILLS WERE SMEARING...

    I regularly obtain $2 bills from my bank, they are always SEQUENTIAL (since the teller gives them to me in those straps) and the ink is most of the time SMEARING (almost all new bills are like this).

    Any teller would tell you that sequential number and smearing ink is a "hint" (I don't have a better word) that the bills are REAL.
  • by otis wildflower ( 4889 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @10:08PM (#12183500) Homepage
    I love the sentiment, but I hate standing in line behind folks like you :/
  • by Jeremiah Cornelius ( 137 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @10:11PM (#12183521) Homepage Journal
    The one pound coin in the U.K. is pretty great. Thick as two or three others, so there is writing on the edge. It's possible to even have one land this way in a toss - tho not too possible!

    Easy to tell the things apart from others, and they naturally sort themselves out in your pocket. Makes me not miss the old "Isaac Newton" quid that was phased out in the 'eighties. It's also the best reason I can think of for Great Britain to stay out of the Euro.

  • by Restil ( 31903 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @10:17PM (#12183559) Homepage
    The best buy people got excited because of the excessive number of perfectly legal, yet somewhat unusual bills. So they get the pen out and start marking all of them and manage to smear one and it comes out looking like it might be counterfiet. The cop overreacted a bit and decided, figuring he's not really qualified to determine if the bills are in fact counterfiet or not, considering the pen DID mark it as possible, they'd hold the guy until the secret service gave it their ok, which they did, and even offered up an explaination about the confusion.

    The police probably didn't do anything wrong, although what they did was probably unnecessary. Best Buy on the other hand is going to keep a few lawyers employed for the near future.

  • by jacksonj04 ( 800021 ) <> on Friday April 08, 2005 @10:22PM (#12183590) Homepage
    Yes, but given that most things have to accept coins *and* bills, wouldn't it make more sense to replace low-denomination bills with coins?

    Visit somewhere in Europe and see how it makes sense.
  • by Grey_14 ( 570901 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @10:23PM (#12183609) Homepage
    You Sir, Are an A-Hole, You don't see this as rude, even childish? Ok, so $2 bills are legal currency, But your just messing with people, whom you know won't know what to do with them, then when the manager specifically asks you not to, because they know your just causing trouble, and you go ahead and continue on with them at the same store even anyway's, When they ask you AGAIN to stop, (And saying your not welcome was over the top, I'll admit that), you leave a complaint and get them in crap? Really, Are you one of those people who twists the wording in sales and promotions to mess with people? Do you take pride in confusing retail clerks? Ever worked retail? We hate you.
  • by artifex2004 ( 766107 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @10:26PM (#12183621) Journal
    I can't say it really bothered me other then there isn't a place in the till to put them.

    Why don't cashiers just stick them under the tray, like coupons, $50s, or other unusual things they have to keep track of?
  • by cowens ( 30752 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @10:26PM (#12183626)
    The cops didn't have an issue with the two dollar bill, they had an issue with the fact that a disgruntled customer tried to pay a debt with 57 sequentialy numbered two dollars bills and one of the had an ink smudge. Take those bold pieces and put them together and you start to see why the cops reacted the way they did. Should they have brought up 9/11? No. Should they have taken him back to the station to investigate? Yes. Should they have put him in hand cuffs? Depends, how much of an ass he was being. We know he went in with the intent of being an ass (that was why he was paying with two dollar bills). How loud and obnoxious was he being? That isn't stated in the article.
  • by justthisdude ( 779510 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @10:26PM (#12183628)
    While he didn't deserve to be arrested, he wasn't exactly innocent: when you do something deliberately provocative, how surprised can you be when you provoke a response? Yes, the cashier way overreacted, but the man was looking for some kind of reaction. He was mad, so he found a way to show-up the cashier for a fool. He just didn't bargain on how big a fool, or on so many fools at once.

    I am saying this as someone who has done a lot of stupid, provocative things in my life: I once pretended a cardboard poster tube was a bazooka in front of an armored car driver. He did get a really funny scared expression on his face, then reached for his gun before seeing my trick. I laughed, but he stayed calm and pointed out how my survival had depended on his not being a fool. I took that to heart and thanked god for my limited success that day. I'm not saying I don't still provoke people for the sheer pleasure of it (especially when they piss me off), I am just saying that I don't pretend I am innocent if it backfires on me.

    Now it's fun to laugh at the morons out there who don't know the finer points of US currency, or tell the school bully "his epidermis is showing", just be ready to acknowledge your complicity in the ass-whooping you might eventually get.

  • by Waffle Iron ( 339739 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @10:27PM (#12183636)
    Consider that, fishing around in your pocket, a $1 bill bears a striking resemblance to a $50 bill, $20 bill, $10 bill, $5 bill, and $2 bill. Does this make the $1 bill difficult to use or identify?

    Yes it does. Most countries aren't so silly as to make all of their bill denominations the same size and color. But that's another rant.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 08, 2005 @10:35PM (#12183699)
    What a crackpot. What is wrong with you that would make you do these things?
  • by DavidTC ( 10147 ) <slas45dxsvadiv.v ... minus city> on Friday April 08, 2005 @10:48PM (#12183781) Homepage
    The pens do not smear ink. Having the ink smear when you use them has nothing to do with anything.

    Those almost completely worthless pens are supposed to make a black mark if it's printed on paper, as opposed to the fabric actual bills are printed on. They're just iodine! It reacts with paper and turns black. They aren't some magical counterfit detecting thing.

    Having smeared ink on money is rare, but it happens. If you get it, you should take it to the bank and they'll replace it. It's not very common sign of counterfitting...counterfitters don't use ink that runs either.

    Oh, and I love the concept that sequential bill numbers are somehow suspicious. Yeah, the counterfitters have the ability to change numbers (Which many do not), and decided they'd make it easy on themselves by counting in one direction, instead of just picking random numbers. Riiiight.

    Sequential bill numbers are the opposite of suspicious WRT counterfitting, the only way you get those is at a bank, and banks do not get counterfit money from the mint. (He might have robbed a bank, but that's an entire different matter.)

  • by mike518 ( 869465 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @10:52PM (#12183802)
    your implying that /.ers already buy from best buy... you silly silly person

    if i wanted to pay retail +10% +Tax or more, id go to comp usa and get a properly price screwed.
  • by Phil Karn ( 14620 ) <> on Friday April 08, 2005 @10:53PM (#12183807) Homepage
    Even scarier is the closing quote from the police spokesman: "It's a sign that we're all a little nervous in the post-9/11 world."

    Excuse me, but how exactly does one equate suspected small-scale counterfeiting with hijacking airliners, flying them into buildings and killing thousands of people?

    If this signifies anything, it's how, in the post-9/11 world, American society has gotten so moronic, brow-beaten and petrified that cops seriously expect us to buy such a flimsy excuse for their Gestapo tactics.

    By the way, I went to grade school in Cockeysville, MD. My parents live only a few miles away. I'll make sure they avoid that particular store.

  • by spagetti_code ( 773137 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @10:59PM (#12183843)
    First Best Buy was on Slashdot for allegedly abusive practices concerning rebates. Now this. Does Best Buy management have any more sink-the-company ideas?
    Actually, this probably isn't sink-the-company stuff. Best Buy is not a company living on a reputation of excellent customer service. You don't go there for individual attention, for intelligent information about products, for the ability to barter or make deals. You go there for prices and selection. When you are a struggling or small company, service is important. When you are Best Buy/Walmart you want to ship product as fast as possible. The customer is almost irrelevant (as long as they keep buying).

    Best quote (from memory) from Crossing The Chasm []: "Ship as fast as you can and ignore the customer".

    I realise that this is a marketing strategy more tailored towards individual products, but I think the concept holds.

  • by NoMercy ( 105420 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @11:02PM (#12183862)
    Well actually, even 30 yearold coins arn't legal anymore, the 50p, 10p, 5p, 2p and 1p coins have changed and the 1/2p has been phased out, all of the notes have changed over the years, the latest incarnations including holograms, which helps a bit as people don't spend so long checking there legal, used to be quite embarising with people holding things up to the light to check the metal strip and watermark.

    I think the only coins which have remained the same from the decimialisation until now are the 20p and the pound coin, no doubt the'll have there sights on changing the 20 :)

    Problem is the dolar is now so wide spread, it'd be an almost impossible task to replace all of them, mabie someone will but it'd take at least 20 years to get near 100% usage of the new notes.
  • Where's the fun (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blonde rser ( 253047 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @11:05PM (#12183882) Homepage
    Maybe it's just me but I don't get it. Where's the fun in paying with $2 bills? It seems the only reason to do that is you can force others into a conflict where you will be proven right in the end. I understand confronting people and then being proven right. But egging others into a conflict? That just seems wheeny.

    Not only do I not get the humour but I get the outrage even less. Why do people get mad when they spend two dollar bills and the seller doesn't recognize it as legal tender. By very nature of the fact that the spender is going out of his way to get two dollar bills he has to recognize that they are rarely used and many don't know they exist. Don't you give up your right to be outraged by people questioning your actions when you've chosen actions just so that they would raise questions?

    If you enjoy creating conflict with these kinds of stunts then fine. I mean I still don't get it but your fun doesn't seem to harm anyone. But if you're going to get angry when people respond to the bait that you are laying out for them then why do it? And I certainly don't think there's any reason to have empathy for you if you do get exactly the responce you were hoping for.
  • by jcr ( 53032 ) <> on Friday April 08, 2005 @11:09PM (#12183914) Journal
    He didn't get chucked in a cell for being stubborn, he got chucked in a cell because the clerk is an idiot, as were the officers responding to the call.

    Any marginally competent lawyer should be able to get him at least six figures from both the store, and the municipality where this occurred.

  • by AvitarX ( 172628 ) <me.brandywinehundred@org> on Friday April 08, 2005 @11:20PM (#12183987) Journal
    The first tip I left when I visited london was 7 pounds.

    I threw in a few loose coins like I typically do here. oops, I apperently tipped $10.00 on a $13.00 breakfast.

    I bet I made somebody happy though.

    The entire time I was in England I was confused as to why I would have loose change worth more then I usually cary in cash in the US.
  • by Micah ( 278 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @11:21PM (#12184003) Homepage Journal
    > Now nobody uses the new one either.

    Guess you haven't been to Ecuador. Here, where the US dollar is the official currency, you get golden dollar coins as change at least as often as the $1 bills, probably more.

    Personally, I'm super-ticked that the US Mint quit making the things. They beat the crap out of $1 bills, and cost the government so much less to make and maintain. Why the heck didn't the gov't just ignore the whiners and pull the $1 bill?
  • by eno2001 ( 527078 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @11:35PM (#12184080) Homepage Journal
    Because most of America is populated by illogical fools who fear change and don't see the value in practicality when it upsets long held convention. When they were considering color for our bills recently, they only wound up adding a slight hint of color. The reason why? Well, according to what I've read, the decision was made because the U.S. treasury was told by what amounts to a marketing group, that Americans think of money as green. I was livid when I heard this because I'd just come back from Australia and I think they have gorgeous bills (nice colors and a clear plastic section for anti-counterfeiting measures). A lot of idiots here will say that it doesn't matter what color money is as long as it has value, which may be true, but jesus people! Get a fucking sense of style!
  • by QuantumInterference ( 836894 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @11:36PM (#12184086)
    What is wrong with you? Your post under anonymous coward is fitting. What is your problem with someone doing something that they have a legal right to do?? Everyone else, the average dipshit such as yourself, is either to stupid, to ignorant, or just an asshole and tries to make their own selfish lives easier by trampling on someone else's rights.

    If fricking gas stations weren't owned by morons, managed by morons, and staffed by morons, there would be no problem with accepting $50 or $100 bills. Ever hear of a timed drop safe? Every retail establishment should have one and any large bills and drawer cash totalling over $100 should go in it frequently. (Large bills immediately.) I am sick and tired of walking in to some loser fracking crap hole gas station and getting crap about paying for $27 of gas with a $50. Meanwhile, I notice when they open the cash drawer that they must not have been to the bank or used a safe all week...seriously...must have been $3,000 or $4,000 in that drawer. Same thing at numerous restaurants and other establishments in the area. They are going to get robbed because someone CAN SEE $4,000 in their drawer, not because they accept $50 bills that should immediately be placed in a whole in the floor.

    The business owners and managers whom refuse to install and maintain this equipment should be sued out of existance by anyone that is robbed. Most retail businesses require some type of timed drop safe and frequent skimming. However, in most cases, the timer is broken, the lock doesn't work, and employees are bitched out for wasting time to skim the tills. If you are smart enough to know what bullshit this is, move on--get out of that shithole. If not, at least wisen up to the existance and legality of $2, $50, and $100 bills and STFU.

    Legal tender is LEGAL TENDER. My congrats to the gentleman in Michigan. I am looking for a similar law in Indiana now. In fact, this should be a federal law. At the very least, if they refuse my $50, they'll be taking a $20 deduction for the time it takes me to go get them "small bills" or waiting until the next time I stop by their establishment (6 months after an incident of this sort) to get their payment.

    I'd love to have the local dumbshit donut chomper throw me to the ground over a $2, $50, or $100 bill. I am highly confident I can unload his weapon and kick his ass before the county mounties show up. Then, when they show up, break a few bones and such...I'll enjoy living in my brand new home in the next county over (to avoid the new, excessive property taxes in the prior county.) What?? You don't like me for raising your property taxes?? Why don't you pay more attention to the dumbshits working for you? Like school employees embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars, county and city cops barely smart enough to flip burgers, et cetera.

    Get a grip and be glad SOMEONE is out there defending the rights of lazy asses such as yourself.

    DISCLAIMER: I live in a small town...where things are supposed to be rosy and sweet. In fact, quite the opposite. No business or government employee believes in service. If you don't like the $20 burnt or half cooked pizza, you can shove it...go to Pizza Hut 25 miles over. If you don't like the phone service, go somehwere else they say...there is no one else. Thank God Comcast came here. They have already taken most of the phone companies Internet business (only ISP before now) and if VOIP takes off, these morons are done.

    Have a nice day.
  • by c0d3h4x0r ( 604141 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @11:42PM (#12184116) Homepage Journal
    He'd never heard of the state of Maryland.

    People that stupid should be euthanized. Seriously.
  • by omahaNerd ( 860747 ) on Saturday April 09, 2005 @12:08AM (#12184319)
    That's it, I'm going to my bank and demanding that the ATM's dispense $2 bills and $1 coins. I want to load up on these and go out and educate the masses.
  • by TheMCP ( 121589 ) on Saturday April 09, 2005 @12:23AM (#12184405) Homepage
    If they police told him they knew he was innocent, and arrested him anyway, they admitted that it was a false arrest... which is actionable... and maybe even a violation of his constitutional rights.
  • by nick_davison ( 217681 ) on Saturday April 09, 2005 @12:42AM (#12184516)
    I worked for a couple of years as a bank teller.

    The question is not, as you claim, whether it's reasonable to hold someone given reasonable suspicion. The question is how much doubt must be present -- this man attempted to use legal tender to satisfy a debt, and given my cash-handling experience I don't see any reason to have doubted him.

    Exactly. You were a bank teller. Your job was to handle money, handle money and, uh, handle money.

    If your training and experience did not involve significantly more understanding of money than a police officer is required to have, in order to have reasonable doubt, then you really shouldn't have worked as a bank teller.

    I'm a programmer. There will be cases that are completely obvious to me that are not hacking. That in no way invalidates an officer saying, "OK, there's enough here for me to be suspicious enough to hold someone until I can get an expert to tell me one way or the other."

    The officer didn't know. Nor, frankly, was it his job to know. If we required every police officer to have the training and experience of a bank teller in order for them to be able to deal with counterfeiting, what other training should we also require? We should definitely have them gain qualification as mechanics in order to be able to tell the difference between a scuffed VIN number and one that was actually tampered with. As with the hacking issue, a four year bachelor's in Computer Science should probably be sufficient. And, given things like identical twins and other false positives in those areas that an expert could also dismiss, a medical degree is an absolute must too. So, these fifty year old guys with their six or eight degrees... How much do tax payers pay them again?

    You were a bank teller. It was your job to know these details about cash. He was a police officer. It was his job to know enough to have a pretty good idea when and when not to be suspicious enough to hold someone until he can get an expert to give him more information.

    Ask the officer to quote miranda rights or penal codes, he'll likely be an expert. Ask him to quote, with the same degree of knowledge as a bank teller, the signs for counterfeit money and of course he'll fall down. His job is to have a fair idea of when to be suspicious and then to get an expert. If we wanted every cop in America to have the amount of education necessary to know as much as professionals in every field tey investigate, we'd be paying 100% tax and then some in order to keep these fine professionals.

    Given your experience, it was unreasonable. Given his experience, it was something he considered reasonable.
  • by Weaselmancer ( 533834 ) on Saturday April 09, 2005 @12:43AM (#12184521)

    Just try to tuck a Euro into a dancer's garter belt.

    Low denomination bills have their uses. ;^)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 09, 2005 @12:56AM (#12184601)
    > You have no clue whatsoever what cops have to go through; you do not serve as one, nor do you have the training to understand the situation. So quite frankly my dear, you have no room to criticise.

    Bullshit. He has the same right as you and I to due process, and you don't need any special training to know that. We all have to be able to understand the law in order to follow it.

    Get this through your skull: the guy did nothing illegal. And even though he was suspected of counterfeiting, he was mistreated as a suspect, and discovered that cooperating with the police gets you nowhere. In today's paranoid version of Amerika, you are guilty until proven innocent.
  • by DoctorFrog ( 556179 ) on Saturday April 09, 2005 @01:06AM (#12184656)
    Sorry, but I was also a waiter once, and a bartender more than once, and a cashier way more than once, and I have no sympathy.
    The fact that a scam can start with those words is a reason to be wary. It is not a reason to shut a person down before they have a chance to explain what the mistake was.
    Many a scam starts out with "Hello" too. Assuming that every conversation which starts with "Hello" is a scam is not only stupid, it's bad business.
    Assuming that your customers are con artists causes you to end conversations which would otherwise have benefitted you - as was the case with my conversation with the Woolworth's cashier.
    I didn't make the assumption that the cashier I encountered was a typical employee, but if she treated others the way she treated me I'd imagine that Woolworth's lost a hell of a lot of business. .. probably far more than they saved by shutting off conversations with conmen who then went on to find other avenues for exploitation.
  • by Austerity Empowers ( 669817 ) on Saturday April 09, 2005 @01:12AM (#12184686)
    You might as well ask why people still use money instead of debit cards pulling directly from their banks.

    Debit card withdrawals are traceable for one, that can be evil. They require some sort of communications device which is not always practical on a vending machine for two. The third is do you really want to trust every little mom and pop shop with your bank account info and PIN code? Sure you enter it into a keypad, but it's not a hard job to figure out what buttons were pushed...

    Credit cards are better if you have the discipline to pay them off monthy. Cash is still king though, I don't want anyone knowing what, when or where I buy stuff. It can only hurt or at best irritate me.
  • by Nogami_Saeko ( 466595 ) on Saturday April 09, 2005 @02:08AM (#12184943)
    Well, all they need to do is the same thing as the Canadian mint did...

    Stop printing $1 bills. Eventually people will have to make the switch because there won't be any bills left after a few years.

  • by swmccracken ( 106576 ) on Saturday April 09, 2005 @02:14AM (#12184976) Homepage
    You could scrap pennies, yes. In New Zealand, we scrapped 1 and 2 cent coins without much difficultiy. It's quite possible that a 'quarter only' approach would work; (maybe quarters + fives or something.)

    But you (ie: USA) have a slight issue:

    You'd have to rejig your sales tax system to scrap penny coins.

    If something is advertised at $4.00, you end up paying $4.00 + tax, and it's to allow for this tax which is often in the individual cent range, you have to keep the penny coin.

    In New Zealand, by contrast, virtually all retailers quote tax-inclusive prices, and they're often rounded to 5 cents (our smallest coin is the 5 cent piece).

    "Countries with low value coins generally have state and local consumption taxes which are added to the advertised prices of goods and services. Consequently, almost every cash transaction requires the exchange of very low denomination coins. In New Zealand, GST is almost always incorporated in the displayed price of products. Also, the use of electronic methods of making payments is more common in New Zealand than in most other countries.

    Low denomination coins are unpopular in several developed countries. Finland has chosen not to issue 1 and 2 eurocent coins. Major retail organisations, banks and consumer organisations in the Netherlands have voluntarily agreed that all pricing should be in 5 eurocent intervals. A recent survey in the United Kingdom indicated that about 5 million people there regularly throw away low value coins. If Europe and the UK opted for lowest value coins of five eurocents and five pennies respectively these would be of similar value to a New Zealand 10 cent coin."
    Reserve Bank of New Zealand [].
  • by mikeplokta ( 223052 ) on Saturday April 09, 2005 @02:42AM (#12185178)
    Not everyone knows about $2 bills, $1 and 50 cent coins, etc.

    She's a cashier; it's her job to know what currency is and is not valid.

  • by Magnus Reftel ( 143 ) on Saturday April 09, 2005 @04:04AM (#12185537)
    This is a good thing when your currency is a standard around the world, everyone recognizes it
    Right. And here I was, thinking that this story was about a guy who got arrested because the cashier didn't recognize it...
  • by Triskele ( 711795 ) on Saturday April 09, 2005 @04:29AM (#12185666)
    Do you have a reference for that?

    In Britain we don't have the felony/misdemeanour distinction that you have in the USA. And you'd have to go back before the founding of the USA to find an era when execution was anything like that universal a punishment. Sounds apocryphal to me...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 09, 2005 @06:02AM (#12185985)

    Not everyone can see the bills. If you are blind, having the values printed on bills the same size is of little use.

    Some currencies have braille-like raised marks on the bills to aid blind and partially sighted people, but simply having different sized bills for each denomination helps.

    As a matter of interest, if having all the bills the same size is such a good idea, why aren't all coins the same size as well?

    Note that some people in this discussion have complained that Susan B Anthony dollars and quarters are too similar.

  • by xSauronx ( 608805 ) <> on Saturday April 09, 2005 @07:47AM (#12186252)
    as i mentioned elsewhere, i dont think americans would accept pink bills that are 10% larger than our purple bills as being real money.

    your country thinks our money is silly, and we think the same of yours when someone comes back from a vacation with money that looks like it came out of our childrens board games. We associate bright colors with fake money because for years and years thats been the case here. People didnt like the mild use of color on the new $20 that came out last year, it doesnt look like american money, its not all green...and after years upon years of having just green money, you get used to it.

  • by Generic Guy ( 678542 ) on Saturday April 09, 2005 @09:45AM (#12186757)
    Except that the only reason he was there in the first place was that Best Buy jacked him around on the installation fee. They had originally waived the fee, then called him the next day saying he better pay or they were going to have him arrested. In protest, he went and paid with $2 bills (which he uses in his touring business), and Best Buy couldn't cope. In fact, it was the store manager who shackled him down and called in the police.

    Best Buy created the situation by being hostile with their own customer. Then they made it worse by continuing to be hostile with their customer.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 09, 2005 @10:20AM (#12186932)
    Ah the $2 bill. Noone seems to want to use you. You are still completely valid currency. In fact, the treasury still produces you (although less often because noone uses you). The treasury even mentions how to use properly on their website ( nations.shtml#q5 ). Like any other currency! Blasphemy.

    As for you skeptics wondering why on earth we would keep currency we no longer produce in circulation. Your country eventually phases out currency when new ones are introduced. Well, for one thing the $2 bill isn't being phased out by any means. And we, just like you (yes, shocking), phase out currency when it is no longer valid.

    Again, looking at the treasury's website (the internet is wonderful isn't it), it explains all of these topics and more!

    To the cashier in Best Buy. You are a lesser being, my friend. If you have any doubts, you don't call the police first thing, you ask somebody else, mabye one of the other cashiers (the ones in the normal check out lines) who probably have seen some strange things in their day. Or you do like any reasonable geek would do and check the internet.

    To the police. I wish we could have smarter police. I know, it's not really your fault and I'm sure this wasn't your dream career choice. But try to act with some reason. You don't arrest people that pay in sequential bills. There are countless of other things you can do. A. actually talk to the guy and find out why they are sequential order. yes, he did explain himself, but you still had your doubts. But you could ask him where he got the bills at so you could check out his story and not end everything in embarassment. B. this is probably not very good either, but still better than arresting the guy. just copy his license plate down as he drives away.
  • Your Signature (Score:3, Insightful)

    by macdaddy ( 38372 ) * on Saturday April 09, 2005 @11:05AM (#12187153) Homepage Journal
    USA: the enemy of the free world.

    Would you mind changing your quote to instead point at the actual views of the administration of our country and not a generally vague and inaccurate statement about the sentiment of all the population? For example,

    Current USA Government: the enemy of the free world.

    That would be a much more accurate statement and wouldn't malign the large percentage of the US population who's views do not reflect that of our "leaders." There is a significant distinction. Thanks

  • Re:9/11?! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 09, 2005 @04:18PM (#12188773)
    You seem to have a very poor grasp of Canadian law and jurisprudence. You're linking issues that aren't even related in law. I sincerely suggest you read up on the law (BTW, all Canadian laws can be access online...) before commenting.

    The print shop was not prosecuted under the Canadian Charter but under Ontario Human Rights Act. The courts deal exclusively on constitutional matters. The Ontario Human Rights Commission deal with teh province's own Human Rights Act which govern all business under provincial jurisdiction. The print shop's refusal to offer service is specifically prohibited by the Ontario Human Rights Act and that's the basis on which the Commission ruled. The Court didn't add anything to the law or read in new rights (since they weren't even involved). The Comission ruled based on the explicit language of the act. The print shop owner was wrong in every sense of the word under the Human Rights Act. There is no ambiguity.

    The BC teacher case you mentioned is under the jurisdiction of the professional act for Teachers in BC. Again, another provinical piece of legislation independednt from the Charter. His charge was unprofessional conduct and discrimination as described by the provincial act (which does list out sexual orientation) by the professional body he voluntarily joined. As a professional myself (Engineer), your profession can and does hold you to a higher standard than that of a private citizen. If your public statements discredit your profession, that is more than enough grounds for the professional governing body (the College of Teachers in this case) to penalize you.

    On a side note, it is starting to grate when people keep saying the courts are undemocratic because they don't rule based on popular opinion. Democarcy does not equal bending to the mob. Democracy implies that everyone is equal and equally protected under the law, i.e. affairs of state follow set rules and not the whims of people a.k.a. rule of law. The Courts will rule based on the laws written by an elected legislature and not by the latest opinion polls. The courts are there to protect the minority from the majority and not the other way around. There is something called the "tyrany of the majority", which seems to be what a lot of people advocate. When that happens, what we have is mob rule and not democracy. I suggest that you pick up a few law text books and understand the foundation of English Common Law. Your arguments would be heck of a lot more effective if you actually know what you're talking about.
  • by tuatara222 ( 448203 ) on Sunday April 10, 2005 @09:50AM (#12192882)
    I hear you- tossing dimes into the till isn't messy or brutal, but a real PITA when someone needs to catch that last bus to get home, or has someone watching their children waiting for them, so they can go to work, etc.

    Watching how people treat retail staff and places, it makes me wonder about making people work well-monitored menial-pay gigs in their youth (not unlike mandatory national service) so they would (hopefully) learn about empathy, respect, having to live on low wages-something along those lines. So often, people act like those working manual or retail work are less than human somehow, and fair game for rudeness and contempt.

    It may sound naive, but I was raised to believe that a person should not be judged because of the work they do, if it is honest work done well. If a person abuses others by their power and position (Enron management, anyone?)- they deserve contempt- not the guy who collects the trash. At the hospital where I currently work, the director of my service is highly-credentialed - also dissembling, judgmental, biased, and driven primarily by his image. OTOH,a custodian I know on the evening shift is one of the the most pleasant and hard-working people I've known. I know the access he has- he could do amazing damage or theft is he chose to do so. And I'd rather spend an hour with him than five minutes with the director, any day.

Karl's version of Parkinson's Law: Work expands to exceed the time alloted it.