Monday, February 3, 2014

How To Spot A Fake

Do you carry cash on you regularly?  If you are anything like me then the answer is no.  It is very rare that I actually have cash.  Unless I know that I will need to have cash for specific purpose then I will have it but otherwise I am a tried and true (and occasionally frivolous) debit card user.  Since I started dating my boyfriend, I tend to do laundry when I am staying with him (which has been just about every night for the last couple months).

If I use the washer and dryer at his apartment, it will take me a few hours to do a couple loads because it takes like 45 minutes to an hour to wash and about that long to dry...and then you have to run it through another dry cycle because the clothes are still pretty damp.

Instead I go to one of the many local laundry mats.  For about $6 (give or take a quarter in the dryer) I can do all of my laundry in one load, wash, dry and folded in about an hour.

What does doing laundry have to do with carrying cash?  Well laundry mats require coins or cards with money preloaded.  Last week I got halfway to the laundry mat when I realized I left my roll of quarters at the apartment in my backpack.  I stopped at a gas station, pulled a $20 out of the ATM and bought an energy drink.  The cashier gave me my money and I stuffed it into my wallet.

After a couple of days I stopped at a fast food joint for dinner.  Not the greatest idea but it was late, and I was hungry and had not eaten in about seven hours.  I had the girl at the window my cash.  It included a $10 that I received as change from the gas station.  She walks away and after a couple of minutes a manager comes to the drive thru window and tells me that the $10 bill that I gave them was counterfeit, a fake.

I was completely dumbfounded and shocked.  What the hell did she just say?

"I'm's what?"

"It's a fake.  It's not real."

At this point I became thoroughly embarrassed because I know that it is illegal to produce and/or use fake currency.  These people in the fast food place are taking their sweet time and I am thinking holy shit they called the cops.  The girl that I originally gave the money to, opens the window and I try to hand her my debit card.  She looks at me like what am I supposed to do with that?  I told her to give me my $5 bill back and to charge my debit card.

"What?  I don't understand."

I told her that I gave her $15 to cover my total cost.  Apparently the $10 bill was a fake so unless the $5 is too, give it back and use my debit card.  She took my card and gave me my $5 back.  I got my food and then she finally ran my card and then tried to stiff me on my drink.

I don't know if I am more embarrassed by the fact that I tried to use a fake bill, the fact that I didn't know it was fake or pissed off that the lady at the gas station who handles cash all the time gave me a fake and now I'm out $10!?!  When you're broke, $10 is a lot of money.

I guess we live and we learn.  What I learned from this is that I will now be taking a careful look at all of my bills.  Even my ones!  I found this website that gives a few steps on how to recognize a fake.  You best believe that the next time I carry cash, I will be checking them thoroughly.  I think I might even start getting my cash from the bank and if it is not a large amount that I need, it will be all ones...people don't tend to counterfeit coins much anymore...or do they?

Until next time!