Letters to the Editor

Got change for a fake $50 bill? | Federal Way letters

I have a comment about Jacinda Howard's Feb. 20 article on counterfeit bills. This is something I have been dealing with for the past year now. My account goes something like this.

History has demonstrated time and time again that, during tough economic times, the passing of counterfeit money increases. This time is no different. As a shift supervisor at a restaurant, this is something I have had to be particularly vigilant about. Someone did pass two fake $100 bills, washed out $5s, were I work. As a result, we quit taking $100s. Some places have even quit taking $50s because of their counterfeit dangers, as Jacinda's article has demonstrated.

I even check all $20 bills because there have been numerous reports of fake $20s in the greater Puyallup Valley. I'm certain the same thing has happened in Federal Way. One employee, an upstart who thought she knew everything and anything, got irritated that I checked $20s. I looked her straight in the eye and said, "If I accept a fake, I'm accountable for that money. I've heard too many reports of fake $20s. I'm checking them."

Not two weeks later, that same woman reportedly got a fake $20 from an area bank. From then on, she obsessively checked all her $20s.

Another thing I've noticed is that some customers have yelled at me for not taking the money. Ironically, many of them cite economic hardship for the reason they carry a $50 bill or $100 bill in their wallet. I've often shot back with the reality of the increase of fakes. Sometimes it works, sometimes it dosen't.

I have a couple more borderline stories associated with this.

One set of customers comes in, orders a whole bunch of food, then hands me a $100. I apologize and explain that we don't take $100 bills, citing the fact that fakes have been passed before. He gets pissed, gathers up his family, and angrily exclaims that they're going to take their business to another restaurant right next door. I try to explain that they don't even take $50s next door, but to no avail. Not 15 minutes later, I see that same group jump into their van and peel out of the parking lot.

I shake my head, laugh and say, "I tried to tell them."

In another instance, I receive a comment card with the following written in the space provided: "The person wouldn't except a $100, which is U.S. currency. I decided to write this instead of calling the police."

I acutally started laughing, and said, "Call the police, what the heck, what do they expect that will do for them?"

The choice of a business not to accept a certain increment of bill is a private one; the police have nothing to do with it.

These are just some of my observations.

Tiffany Elliott, Bonney Lake

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