A new trend at the bank where I do most of my business is to eliminate the role of the teller. As banking becomes ever more digital, the bank is eliminating in-person positions. At many branches, one of the bankers will leave his office or cubical to step behind the counter when a teller is needed. A request for a banker to act as a teller elicits the question, “You know that you can do that with the ATM, right?” Well, unfortunately, I can’t ask the ATM for $2 notes.
Entered the bank intending to make a cash withdraw:
Greeter: “How can we help you today?”
Me: “I just need to make a withdraw.”
Greeter: “Do you have your ATM card with you?”
Me: “Yes, but I prefer to do my banking in person.”
Greeter: “Oh, because I can show you how to use the ATM. It will be a bit of a wait at the counter, and this ATM has large bills.”
Me: “Ok, thanks.”
Walked to another branch where there are still tellers to withdraw the $100:
Received along with in the notes: Eight $1 coins (Washington, Polk, Hayes, Sacagawea (4), Anthony)
Teller: “If you are ever near the train station, the machines there give dollar coins as change.”
Tags: $1, $2, Currency Design, Politics
I’m just going to pretend that I never stopped writing these blog posts in the first place. You, likewise, should ignore the year-plus gaps between posts.
Two years ago, I related the lamentable news that the Presidential $1 coins would no longer be produced for circulation. “They will still be produced in limited numbers to be sold as collectibles, but everybody who was hoping to get a Calvin Coolidge coin as change someday is out of luck.” Well I was only partially right. The coins are only being produced as collectables, but that didn’t stop a few from sneaking into circulation. I had a bank teller break a $20 note for me today and among the change was a Calvin Coolidge dollar coin! And, as if that surprise were not pleasant enough, a Herbert Hoover $1 coin was also in the mix!
There is probably some lesson about the nature of coins and the satisfaction of them fulfilling their, as the French would say, “reason of to be.” But I was just pretty stoked to see a modern necktie worn on a circulating coin.
Broke a $20 note:
Received: Four $2 notes, twelve $1 coins (Washington, J. Adams, Jefferson (2), Monroe (2), J. Q. Adams, Hayes, Coolidge, Hoover, Sacagawea, Anthony)
Response: When I asked if the teller had any $2 notes in her drawer, “I knew that you were going to ask that! I’ve been waiting for you!”
Several years ago, it came to light that the Washington Wizards had banned Caron Butler from drinking Mountain Dew. Butler claims that during his college basketball career, he would drink two liters of Mountain Dew every game. One liter before, one liter at halftime. The Wizards, apparently, thought that consuming over 15 cups of sugar at a time was not something that professional athletes should do. So they said he couldn’t have any more. This made plenty of extra fridge for carrots or whatever, since Butler had previously kept 6 refrigerators stocked with the stuff!
Disturbing as his habit was, I rather looked up to Caron Butler after I learned this. If he could drink that much Mountain Dew and still be a professional basketball player, I could put terrible things in my body and still be able to be a success. When I played rugby, I often had McDonalds for breakfast on game day. It sounds like an awful plan, and it probably was, but it worked out alright. I never noticed any adverse effects on my performance.
My rugby days are behind me, it seems. But recognizing the similarity between rugby and test-taking, I opted for McDonalds breakfast before a recent exam:
Price: $6 and change
Paid: One $10 note
Change: Included three $1 coins (Johnson, Monroe, Adams)
Response: The cashier went to make change but found that she only had a single $1 note. “Hold on, I need to get more ones.” Noticing that there were $1 coins in the register, I said that I would take my change in coins. “You sure you want that many coins?” she asked. I said that coins were fine. She started to count out quarters. “No,” I said, “I meant dollar coins,” and I pointed to the appropriate compartment of the drawer. “Oh,” she said, “you want these?” She looked at the three $1 coins carefully before handing them over.
There is a saying: “you can never go home again.” But is it as true about blogs as it is about life in general? Has the internet changed? Have people’s opinions about unpopular currencies changed? Have my (very small group of) readers changed?
In 2010, I wrote that there is nothing on the internet of any value unless one considers LOLCats worth reading. This has changed a bit. Since then, I have become involved in other blogging projects. So, there’s that.
The American $1 coin is as unpopular as ever. The coins are so unpopular, in fact, that the mint has decided to cease production of new presidential dollar coins for circulation. They will still be produced in limited numbers to be sold as collectibles, but everybody who was hoping to get a Calvin Coolidge coin as change someday is out of luck.
As for my readers, well, there is only one way to find out. Let the blogging (re)commence!
And, as it turns out, bank tellers are the same as ever; they don’t like having $2 notes in their drawers.
Received: One $20 note, two $10 notes, four $2 notes, two $1 coins (1 Lincoln, 1 Sacagawea)
Response: “Finally! I’ve had these [twos] in my drawer for weeks!”
“Wait! If Jake is in Korea, he can’t continue to talk unnecessarily about $2! Did he get a new blog?”
This is just one example of ACTUAL concern expressed to me about the future of blogging. However, I believe that I can respond adequately to both parts of this fear and confusion that has been caused by my absence from the the blogosphere:
First, I absolutely can continue to talk unnecessarily about $2 bills. For example, yesterday, I was walking through a shopping center near Namdaemun and passed two stamp and collectible paper money shops. Each had a 2003 $2 note displayed in the shop window. One had a hand written note attached. Since I am unable to speak Korean and the handwriting was fairly poor, all I could make out with the help of my cellphone dictionary was “행운” (haengun.) “행운” means “good luck.” Imagine my surprise when a google search for 행운 turned up photos of four-leaf clovers and two-dollar bills! Maybe fate brought me to this country.
Second, I have started another blog. It is more (overtly) about myself than the TDP, but will not have as limited a scope. The theme is: how can I reconcile my concept of and aspirations toward the life of a gentleman with the current state of society and my own physical remoteness from the cultural source of my ideals? In short, how can I be a Modern Western Gentleman (Abroad)?
The Two Dollar Project started one year ago. Although it claimed to be educational and instructive, its primary purpose was to give me a hobby. However, I no longer have need of a hobby. I am leaving for distant shores where adventures shall abound and the coin of the realm is not two-dollar notes.
The TDP may never really end. As long as somebody out there read this and continues to use deuces and dollar coins, the Project lives on. For me, however, there is no choice but to abandon the Project entirely to you, loyal readers. I will keep the Do Your Part link operational in case any of you out there want to keep the blog alive.
I am off, to live the life of a Modern Western Gentleman Abroad. Thank you, and keep up the good work.
Tags: $2, Currency Design
My long weekend was so rough that I need a vacation. To that end, I’m going waterskiing for a week far from the reaches of the internets. While I am gone, entertain yourselves by trying to figure out how to do this:
Tags: $2, Food
The Facebook indicates that just about everybody in the world is going back to school these days. Also, for some reason, college educated people seem to think that the best way to express emotions is with cleverly arranged punctuation:
“1st day of senior year is over :-)”
“everything is ready for the first day of school tomorrow…I just hope I am too :-/”
“Masters Orientation tonight! So excited to begin this new journey! :-)”
I’m not going back to school, but I still eat as if I were. :-9 (That is me licking my lips.)
Purchased a pack of ramen noodles and a box of instant oatmeal:
Paid: One $2 note
Response: “Back to school?” “Nope.” 😦
Tags: $2, Gambling
Many thanks to our Belgian Correspondent. We wish her and her family safe travels. (Although they are almost certainly home by now):
“Being good tourists and being in the neighborhood, we paid an obligatory visit to Atlantic City, NJ. We strolled through some never-ending casinos with the intention to spend some 25 dollars, but we just didn’t feel like playing the odds with a programmable machine, and to play at the tables, $25 was just not enough to start out with. Eventually we just paid for the parking, $5, and for a bottle of water at some simple stand in the middle of the sparkling jungle. Amazingly, that bottle cost exactly $2. The perfect occasion to spend my last two-dollar bill. The vendor gave me the sweetest, happiest smile I ever got from a vendor. I was still enjoying his smile, smiling back at him, when he concluded this great two-dollar experience for me with the perfect phrase: “I just LOVE two-dollar bills!”
So, that’s it, the end of my two-dollar experiences. Thanks Jake for this fun project! Lots of fun with it as far as it reaches, and with your next projects, here or abroad!”
Tags: $1, Currency Design, Politics
A BBC article was sent to me by quite a few people. Cole did it first, so he gets the credit. Basically it says what I’ve been saying for a long time: the dollar coin does not work because it is not given as change at the store. Almost all coinage in circulation gets into circulation in the form of change at the store. If cashiers don’t give the coins as change, the bulk of the populace never see them.
The article also informs us that the government has a stockpile of 1.1 billion dollar coins. Let us give a thought to how huge a number 1.1 billion is. Put it this way, .1 billion is one hundred millions. One hundred millions is less than one tenth of the number of dollar coins that are held in reserve by the United States. Observe the nifty infobox I “borrowed” from them:
Notice anything strange about that box? Does it raise any questions for you? That’s right, we are all thinking the same thing: why New Mexico to Chicago? Seriously? There isn’t a more interesting distance that happens to be 1,367 miles? That it is the same distance from Olympia, Washington to El Paso, Texas. At least that is the distance between two cities. 1,367 miles is also the distance from Budapest to Cairo, Milan to St. Petersburg, Helsinki to Rome, Manila to Bangkok. Not to mention that the Orange River is that long. And that is just two pages of google results. During the Han Dynasty, 1,367 miles of Great Wall were built. Yet, the BBC (or the US Mint) thinks that the best illustration of the distance is New Mexico to Chicago.