Thursday, September 11, 2008

Government Spending

Backstory:
In May, I got a $2 note while in New Mexico.  Technically, my friend John received it as change from something, but he was uninterested in the note as much as I so, so I got it.  We do still have $2 notes in circulation, just like $1 notes.  Personally, I think both should be eliminated, and maybe they will, but as long as they are out there, we still accept them as currency.  The $2 note has the lowest circulation count of all notes.

Looking at the note, I thought the paper felt a little strange.  I went to the Secret Service web site for info on what to do if you suspect a note is counterfeit.  Surprisingly, the Secret Service web site was easy to find...haha...I crack myself up.

The paper was strange and the seal looked odd to me.  It was rounded and not really sawtooth like the site described.  What next?  I called the Secret Service field office in Honolulu and they had me check a few other things over the phone and finally they asked me to mail in the note.  Done.

About a week later, they called me and said they have verified the note is genuine and I can come by the field office to pick it up.  The United States Secret Service field office in Honolulu is inside the United States Department of Homeland Security facility near Honolulu Harbor and none of that really sounds inviting to visit.  I wasn't really interested in going through 9 layers of voluntary security scans to get my $2 note back.  I made it a low priority.  If I had a day to spare, I'd drop by and pick it up.

... skip to September ...

I receive a notice that I have a registered letter waiting for me at the post office.  I get this notice before I leave for FUDCon in Brno, so I can't pick it up until I get back.

I went by today and they checked my ID and had me sign my name twice, write my name, and write my address on the credit card signature pad (have no idea what that will be valid for since it looks like I just played with an Etch-A-Sketch for a few minutes).  Then I was handed the letter.

Normal sized US letter envelope.  Says it's from the U.S. Secret Service office in Honolulu.  And it has the big giant registered mail sticker on it.  Once I see Secret Service on it, I have a feeling it's the $2 note.

I open it and sure enough, there it is, stapled to a letter that some field agent wrote explaining that three different field agents examined it and determined it to be genuine.  They stapled the $2 note to the letter they wrote, so I'm going to take that as an OK to staple money from now on.  They also included a copy of the original letter I sent them back in May.

The U.S. Secret Service gets an A for effort and an A for completeness and checking their work.  However, I'm going to give them a C in the things that make sense column.  If you read the postmark on the letter, you will see it cost them a grand total of $13.42 to mail this $2 note to me.  That's right, the government paid thirteen and a half dollars to mail me a $2 note.

I figured they'd just return it to circulation some other way (you know, like buying lottery tickets or booze), because when it comes down to it, I really don't care that much.  I do appreciate them returning it, but damn, $13.42 to send it across town?  Come on.

The U.S. government does things like that, but won't provide universal healthcare.

1 comment:

Karyn Luke said...

I never question whether a $100 bill or $50 bill is real. I do think $2 bills are pretty odd. However, it's pretty common at Will's CFA to have a customer pay with a $2 bill every couple of days.