Last night, I stopped by the ATM and withdrew a large amount of money (I don’t especially like to visit the ATM, I usually “batch” my withdrawal needs). I cringed when the ATM’s slot opened and $50 bills appeared. $50 bills are weird beasts … they are technically legal currency, however, they are always treated like fake money.
This, of course, wasn’t the first time it happened to me. I tried to figure out what large dollar amount would not trigger the lets_dump_fifties(…) function, but, as far as I can understand the ATM software, it will dispense according to something like:
(desired_amount is divisible by 20, it goes without saying)
bills = (desired_amount / 100) * 2 bills = (desired_amount - bills * 50) / 20
The problem, once you have the undesired bills, is how to get rid of them.I tried to share my amusement-pain with a clerk at Indigo:
me: (takes out and hands over a $50 bill) clerk: (cringing face, goes through the step of verifying it) me: "you know ... a real $50 really feels like a fake $50 ..." clerk: (uncomfortable/nervous) "what do you mean?" me: "well … they are treated the SAME"
And that is just with places that even bother taking $50 bills. Try to purchase something that’s $2 with one and you’ll see how well it gets received.
At the other end of the spectrum there are coins. And the same problem exists. Here’s an interesting section from Wikipedia:
Legal tender of Canadian coinage is governed by the Currency Act which sets out limits of:
40 dollars if the denomination is 2 dollars or greater but does not exceed 10 dollars;
25 dollars if the denomination is 1 dollar;
10 dollars if the denomination is 10 cents or greater but less than 1 dollar;
5 dollars if the denomination is 5 cents;
25 cents if the denomination is 1 cent.
Retailers in Canada may refuse bank notes without breaking the law. According to legal guidelines, the method of payment has to be mutually agreed upon by the parties involved with the transactions. For example, convenience stores may refuse $100 bank notes if they feel that would put them at risk of being counterfeit victims; however, official policy suggests that the retailers should evaluate the impact of that approach. In the case that no mutually acceptable form of payment can be found for the tender, the parties involved should seek legal advice.
Time to start making repeated $80 withdrawals.