Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Counterfeit Money

   Any one who has spent any amount of time handling money should know that there is a huge problem with counterfeit money. If your time handling money is part of your job, part of the way that you support your family, then you take measures to make sure that you don't take in that counterfeit money; all cashiers know this unless they are newbies.
   This need to thoroughly check the bills that pass through our hands, however, has a tendency to piss people off. Frankly, I am not sure why. I have been on the other side of that counter as a consumer/customer, and my panties don't get in a bunch when the cashier passes that counterfeit pen over my bill and then holds the bill up to the light. I know that they are just doing their job; checking for fake bills is actually part of our job and there are specific things we are looking for. The most well known is the little strip inside the bill, that says 100 if it's a 100 or twenty if it's a 20 (it's actually spelled out on the strip for the 20 and in numerals for the 100.) We also check for a number of other thinks, like color changing ink, matching faces, red and blue threads in the paper, and so-on and so-forth. The pen is a useful tool, but all the pen does is let us know that the bill is on the right type of paper, and, oh those creative criminals, they have found ways around that. So I understand that even if I just got that bill straight from the bank, the person I am handing the bill to still needs to check for authenticity. So  I don't waste my time getting all huffy and puffy about them doing their job.
    Even with all those measures, sometimes we still manage to take in fake bills. I know that I have seen fake bills in every thing from fake 100's all the way down to fake 10's. And I mean, really, if you have the time and energy to fake a 10, I wouldn't think that getting a job would be less work. But who knows what goes on in people's heads? Not me.
   But to get back to my original point, there are some people that really get steamed when we check their money. I know that I have even been told that my checking money is not legal (pure bullshit, folks, so whatever you have read online about that, disregard it. Marking a bill with a counterfeit pen is NOT considered defacing money.) I know some people think that we check because we are implying something about their character, but that is not the case at all.  We don't even know most of you. For my store, and for many others that I know of, checking money is standard procedure. We are supposed to check every single bill. So our checking isn't a sign that we are judging you, we check every one's bills from little old  ladies with glasses and polka dot dresses to big scary-looking dudes with facial piercings and tattoos (and in my own experience, the old ladies can be the meanest customers and the pierced, tatted up dudes can be huge teddy bears.) This is our job, and taking in a counterfeit bill can and often is counted as a shortage in our cash drawer, and frankly, too many incidents like that would lead to termination. I speak for myself here, but I have a child to support, so frankly, I can afford your offense, even though checking a bill is not meant to be offensive, but I cannot afford to take in those counterfeit bills.
  This is something that I do try to explain to people when they seem upset, or even just curious as to what I am looking for. Some people, once I have explained and even showed them what I am looking for in a bill, settle down and leave with an understanding that I am just doing my job. But other people: they are determined to take offense no matter what I say. But, as I just explained, this isn't something that I can stop doing. One fake 100 dollar bill in my drawer puts me over the shortage amount that I am allowed; I can't afford that. My family can't afford that. So checking for counterfeit money is something that is going to happen.
   On that note, they have just come out with new 100 dollar bills that are supposed to be much harder to counterfeit, and I actually had some pass through my hands to other day. The first one I handled just befuddled me. This poor man handed me this purplish bill with a metallic 3D strip down the center of the bill and I was looking at the thing thinking this man had handed me some weird kind of play money. After the man told me the money was real, I called to verify, and the bill was real. I felt bad for needing to check, because he seemed embarrassed, but again, having never seen the actually design, part of my job would be to verify that this was a real bill. I did apologize to him for needing to check.
   Anyway, the real point that I want to get across here is that fake money is a big problem for us people in the retail field, and we aren't looking to accuse. Even when we find fake money, we fully understand that in all likely-hood, the person who handed that bill to us had no clue and is a victim. I never look to accuse anyone of anything; that is part of someone else's job description, and they are welcome to it -- I want no part of that. But we do have to check, so all I have to say is that just going with the flow is going to be less stressful and drama filled for both of us. Isn't that something we all want?

Crazy, huh? I was thinking, "What kind of monopoly money is this?"

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