November 14, 2004

Idiocy, Compounded

WELL, GAD. Remember back in August, when a clothing-store clerk in Pennsylvania actually accepted a $200 bill as Legal Tender? Well, the authorities have taken pity on the woman who bought the goods with the gag-store banknote.

In deciding to drop all the charges against the woman, provided she paid for her purchases with bona fide currency, Westmoreland County prosecutors wisely avoided a show trial. As this would have been done at great expense to Westmoreland County's taxpayers, some of whom are our relatives, we approve. Besides, based on the comments of her lawyer, we can only conclude the former defendant is as dumb as a bag of rocks.

The Associated Press reports:

GREENSBURG, Pa. - A case of funny money has ended happily for a woman who had been charged with passing a bogus $200 bill with President Bush's picture on it.

Prosecutors in Westmoreland County dropped all charges Friday against Deborah L. Trautwine, 51, after she paid the store in real currency.

Trautwine "wasn't aware that it ... wasn't actual legal tender," said her attorney, Harry Smail Jr.

The AP has more -- do go read it. Our question is this: how in hell could a person of sound mind and body not realize the note was fake? The AP points out, for instance, that there's no such thing as a $200 bill, and the serial number was clearly made up, and Ronald Reagan signed the bill, and the back side had a "We Like Broccoli" sign on the White House lawn. Plus, the notes aren't even printed on standard-issue paper. All of these things should have tipped off a functioning adult.

We realize it's cruel and horrible for us to make fun of someone whom, according to a respected attorney, truly did believe this note was the real thing. But this has just left us gobsmacked, it really has. On the other hand, as the store clerk also accepted the bill as legitimate, it does make us wonder. Perhaps an enterprising person could do well with this.

CLERK: OK, ten gallons of gasoline and a pack of Marlboros ... that'll be $24.40.
US: Here! Have this newly-minted $30 bill!
CLERK: What?
US: It's a $30 bill. You know, honoring famed Vice President Schuyler Colfax!
CLERK: Oh! He was vice president under Carter, wasn't he?
US: Yes -- he -- was. Plus, if you hold it up to the light, you can see the security features the Government put in the bill.
CLERK: Let's see ... "THIS IS, VIZ. & FORSOOTH, HONEST-TO-GOD AMERICAN CURRENCY." Well, that's good enough for me! Say, you have any more of these? These are cool.
US: Yeah, out in the trunk.

Of course, we kid. After all, Americans -- these two noted exceptions notwithstanding -- are intelligent and fiscally-prudent folks. Besides, as everyone knows, clerks are naturally suspicious of any bill larger than $20, and they have that marker thing they use to ensure the bill's legitimate, and most of them actually look at bills before they throw them in the drawer. Although, if it truly were that easy to fool cashiers, this trend could really get out of hand ...

MAN: Gee, I'm going to like this new television set! Here's $400.
CLERK: Uh, you're paying me with one bill. And it's not even green.
MAN: Of course it's not green! Don't you read the news, son? New security features to fool counterfeiters! You see, if we trick them by printing foofy Communist-style money, they'll stop counterfeiting and such.
CLERK: Well, that'd explain the red color then. But who's this angry-looking dude?
MAN: Why, it's John Nance Garner! You know ... uh ... he was President after FDR.
CLERK: The one who dropped the atom bomb?
MAN: Exactly!

But again. Obviously, such a transaction could never take place, for store clerks these days are often students, and they would immediately reject the proferred bill because Garner was, well, something disagreeable. Still, if anyone is interested in our $30 bills or even larger denominations -- such as our one-of-a-kind $750 note paying homage to Calvin Coolidge -- we invite them to contact us via the address at left.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at November 14, 2004 10:12 PM | TrackBack

Dude, I can't believe you mentioned Schuyler Colfax...that's awesome. My nominee for the $75 bill: Button Gwinnett.

Posted by: simon from jersey at November 15, 2004 10:04 AM


Posted by: Benjamin Kepple at November 16, 2004 07:38 PM