Someone’s Looking Out For Fakes — CagleJune 2006
A recent edition of Bits & Pieces chronicled the latest printing technologies that have made counterfeiting U.S. money nearly impossible for anyone but the most sophisticated of thieves. But even with the bevy of bells and whistles meshed in as security features, I wondered just how many people—particularly minimum wagers in the retail sector—would be capable (or care enough) to root out any funny money trying to be passed off as genuine.
Well, it’s time to put that cynicism to rest. A short while back, while lunching at one of Philly’s greasy spoons, I handed the cashier one of the new ten spots. The cashier held the bill up to the light, rubbed it and then scrawled a check on it with a marker.
“Hey, that’s a fresh bill; I just took it off the press earlier today,” this writer remarked.
“You’d be surprised at the number of fake bills people try to pass off on us,” the cashier replied. “Earlier today a woman tried to give a phony $20 bill. When I told her it wasn’t real, her face got all red and she walked out. And she was a truancy officer for the (nearby) school.”
To quote Augie Doggie, “Oh father, the shame!”
Despite all of the visual security features embedded in the new generation of greenbacks, our counterfeit-sniffing bloodhound/cashier used a different litmus test to make her collar: A tactile examination.
“See?” the cashier explained, rubbing her thumb and forefinger at the lower center of the bill. “You can feel the difference right here. I’ve caught a few that way.” It only goes to show that you never know who’s paying attention.
IRAQ’S PRINTING REVOLUTION: A report in USA Today showed a significant burst of growth in the number of printing companies following the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. The paper cited Pentagon sources as saying nearly 300 newspapers have surfaced following Saddam’s fall, where previously there were only nine government-sponsored newspapers and four magazines (PRINTING IMPRESSIONS, presumably, is not among the quartet.)
One Iraqi printer said that the number of printing shops has billowed from 350 to 800 in Baghdad alone. But the paper cited numerous challenges for these fledgling shops, from power outages and gas shortages to the need for increased security. Perhaps the most overwhelming problem is the lack of qualified technicians to make repairs. Any volunteers?