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PUT YOURSELF in Mike Bolesta's place. On the morning of Feb. 20, he buys a new radio-CD player for his 17-year-old son Christopher's car. He pays the $114 installation charge with 57 crisp new $2 bills, which, when last observed, were still considered legitimate currency in the United States proper. The $2 bills are Bolesta's idea of payment, and his little comic protest, too.

For this, Bolesta, Baltimore County resident, innocent citizen, owner of Capital City Student Tours, finds himself under arrest.

Finds himself, in front of a store full of customers at the Best Buy on York Road in Lutherville, locked into handcuffs and leg irons.

Finds himself transported to the Baltimore County lockup in Cockeysville, where he's handcuffed to a pole for three hours while the U.S. Secret Service is called into the case.

Have a nice day, Mike.

"Humiliating," the 57-year old Bolesta was saying now. "I am 6 feet 5 inches tall, and I felt like 8 inches high. To be handcuffed, to have all those people looking on, to be cuffed to a pole -- and to know you haven't done anything wrong. And me, with a brother, Joe, who spent 33 years on the city police force. It was humiliating."

What we have here, besides humiliation, is a sense of caution resulting in screw-ups all around.

"When I bought the stereo player," Bolesta explains, "the technician said it'd fit perfectly into my son's dashboard. But it didn't. So they called back and said they had another model that would fit perfectly, and it was cheaper. We got a $67 refund, which was fine. As long as it fit, that's all.

"So we go back and pay for it, and they tell us to go around front with our receipt and pick up the difference in the cost. I ask about installation charges. They said, 'No installation charge, because of the mix-up. Our mistake, no charge.' Swell.

"But then, the next day, I get a call at home. They're telling me, 'If you don't come in and pay the installation fee, we're calling the police.' Jeez, where did we go from them admitting a mistake to suddenly calling the police? So I say, 'Fine, I'll be in tomorrow.' But, overnight, I'm starting to steam a little. It's not the money -- it's the threat. So I thought, I'll count out a few $2 bills."

He has lots and lots of them.

With his Capital City Student Tours, he arranges class trips for school kids around the country traveling to large East Coast cities, including Baltimore. He's been doing this for the last 18 years. He makes all the arrangements: hotels, meals, entertainment. And it's part of his schtick that, when Bolesta hands out meal money to students, he does it in $2 bills, which he picks up from his regular bank, Sun Trust.

"The kids don't see that many $2 bills, so they think this is the greatest thing in the world," Bolesta says. "They don't want to spend 'em. They want to save 'em. I've been doing this since I started the company. So I'm thinking, 'I'll stage my little comic protest. I'll pay the $114 with $2 bills.'"

At Best Buy, they may have perceived the protest -- but did not sense the comic aspect of 57 $2 bills.

"I'm just here to pay the bill," Bolesta says he told a cashier. "She looked at the $2 bills and told me, 'I don't have to take these if I don't want to.' I said, 'If you don't, I'm leaving. I've tried to pay my bill twice. You don't want these bills, you can sue me.' So she took the money. Like she's doing me a favor."

He remembers the cashier marking each bill with a pen. Then other store personnel began to gather, a few of them asking, "Are these real?"

"Of course they are," Bolesta said. "They're legal tender."

A Best Buy manager refused comment last week. But, according to a Baltimore County police arrest report, suspicions were roused when an employee noticed some smearing of ink. So the cops were called in. One officer noticed the bills ran in sequential order.

"I told them, 'I'm a tour operator. I've got thousands of these bills. I get them from my bank. You got a problem, call the bank,'" Bolesta says. "I'm sitting there in a chair. The store's full of people watching this. All of a sudden, he's standing me up and handcuffing me behind my back, telling me, 'We have to do this until we get it straightened out.'

"Meanwhile, everybody's looking at me. I've lived here 18 years. I'm hoping my kids don't walk in and see this. And I'm saying, 'I can't believe you're doing this. I'm paying with legal American money.'"

Bolesta was then taken to the county police lockup in Cockeysville, where he sat handcuffed to a pole and in leg irons while the Secret Service was called in.

"At this point," he says, "I'm a mass murderer."

Finally, Secret Service agent Leigh Turner arrived, examined the bills and said they were legitimate, adding, according to the police report, "Sometimes ink on money can smear."

This will be important news to all concerned.

For Baltimore County police, said spokesman Bill Toohey, "It's a sign that we're all a little nervous in the post-9/11 world."

The other day, one of Bolesta's sons needed a few bucks. Bolesta pulled out his wallet and "whipped out a couple of $2 bills. But my son turned away. He said he doesn't want 'em any more."

He's seen where such money can lead.

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/local/bal-md.olesker08mar08,1,76004.column?coll=bal-local-columnists&ctrack=1&cset=true

--Tone

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Last Post by The Dude
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I like $2 Bills.

Can anyone here, without looking it up on the internet, tell me what president is on them?

Christian

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Wow, talk about paranoia and some seriously poor training at Best Buy. The dye of those pens show up a different color if it's counterfit. Smearing is totally normal. But, I guess that's pretty much par customer service when you go shopping at a Best Buy.

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did you guys know that money is not really paper - it's actually cloth.

--Tone

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As much as I dislike cutting down stores, I have to agree about Best Buy. And even though the one thing they have is relatively low prices, many times they make you go through some ridiculous rebate process to get them.

But the worst thing about them is the people they have ¨helping¨ you. They are, for the most part, totally incompentent, when they finally get around to actually talking to you. I hope the guy sues the pants off them...once for their actions and once for their ignorance...

Yes, and I do actually go in there :o and believe it or not I bought a working, brand-new-in-the-box microwave for $17.00. Yes, it works...

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I think the guy on the 2$ bill is the same as the guy on the 20$ bill(Thomas Jefferson)..

I bought my router and network card at best buy because they had a huge sign that said 20$ off ALL routers. Actually, it was only offered on a small variety of brands, but was never advertised it that way. After a long argument, we got the money off because they finally realized they were falsely advertising products.

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LOL. Here in Australia we no longer have $2 banknotes. We've replaced them with $2 coins, and it works well.

This story made me think of the news report I saw last night, where a Chinese tourist to the US had his undies blown up, despite the fact that his suitcase had been x-rayed and found safe :D

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Nobody in the US likes big coins, we tried them and they weren't popular. I like the jingle in the pocket myself, let's me know I've got something other than worthless paper...

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Interesting...Having just moved back from Europe, I´m more familiar with the € Euro, see I even have it on my keyboard...but in the US, I believe we have a 50c and a dollar, which I haven´t seen in ages, hence the comment. They could have even been taken out of circulation. I haven´t seen a larger coin than a quarter (about the size of your 20c) since I can remember.

Anyway, I was referring to denomination and size, which are the same in this case. I liked the silver dollar coin, which was about twice the size of the 50c, which is roughly the same size as yours. In Vegas, some of the casinos still use a coin this size, which is only good in that particular casino, and not legal tender.

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Most dollar coins end up in collections (they're often limited run items) and the rest are used in the few sales machines that don't take dollar bills...

It was decided to go with €2 coins because of the amount of circulation such small denominations get. A coin lasts a lot longer than does a note and therefore is cheaper in the end (even if the production costs a bit more).

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I use Sacagaweas all the time. We have a change machine here right next to our coffee machine that takes up to a $20. Of course if you put a $20 in you'd get a heck of a lot of quarters so it gives out like $3 of quarters and all the rest $1 coins.

Personally, I really like the idea of coins. They're a LOT easier to handle at a bar, and a lot more difficult to confuse when you're drunk ;) I never had the issue of being short changed at a bar in London, but it's happened a number of times here in the US. Of course that could also be the quality of the tenders.

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I know canadian toonie (2$) was first made in 1996. Was there a coin somewhere in the world similar to it that appeared before? The euro was after 1996 I think (1999 maybe???).

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"On January 1, 1999, eleven of the countries in the European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) decided to give up their own currencies and adopt the Euro (EUR) currency: Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain." http://www.xe.com/euro.htm

I found this so it looks like the Canadian toonie was out first.

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I know canadian toonie (2$) was first made in 1996. Was there a coin somewhere in the world similar to it that appeared before? The euro was after 1996 I think (1999 maybe???).

Australia's $2 coin was introduced in 1988. Our $1 coin had been introduced in 1984, and the rest of our coinage had been consistent since 1966, with the exception of a slight change in shape of the 50c coin. Our 1c and 2c coins were withdrawn from circulation in the period 1990-92.

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I meant to ask if there was a coin with a gold center like the toonie somewhere else in the world that was introduced before 1996.

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I dont think they are that pretty, I was just curious to know who started to make a coin like that.

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How awful is right gmannuel...I was sorry to see the Spanish peseta go. I still have some just in case they become scarce. I worked for US companies during the peseta and always made about 20% on the exchange. When it went to euros, I started losing 20%, which is one of the reasons I moved back to the states.

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How awful is right gmannuel...I was sorry to see the Spanish peseta go. I still have some just in case they become scarce. I worked for US companies during the peseta and always made about 20% on the exchange. When it went to euros, I started losing 20%, which is one of the reasons I moved back to the states.

I think he was talking about the story and not the appearance of the euros.

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lol ok. I thought this was like one phrase --> How awful is right gmannuel...I was sorry to see the Spanish peseta go.

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There have been coins like that attempted in the past but the problems with bonding 2 different metals together so that an extremely strong bond is created hadn't been overcome before.
The result was coins coming apart, leading to the designs usually being shortlived.

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There have been coins like that attempted in the past but the problems with bonding 2 different metals together so that an extremely strong bond is created hadn't been overcome before.
The result was coins coming apart, leading to the designs usually being shortlived.

in 1996 there were a couple of coins that did that. People dropped the coins and the middle popped off. We dont have that problem anymore.

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in 1996 there were a couple of coins that did that. People dropped the coins and the middle popped off. We dont have that problem anymore.

Before we went to the euro in spain, one of the peseta coins had a hole in it, so maybe that's not a bad thing? :rolleyes:

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