Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Careful When Ripping Up $100 Bills, Walmart!

If this lawsuit turns out to have its facts straight, the folks at a San Antonio Walmart better be a little more careful in the future. And be able to tell the difference between fake $100 bills and the real deal.

According to the lawsuit, a woman named Julia Garcia pulled out a $100 bill to pay for some purchases. The cashier didn't even bother checking to see if it was fake. Said clerk just decided it was fake, ripped it in half, and had Garcia detained as a crook.

Garcia, maybe foolishly, produced another $100 bill to prove that her cash was legit and store personnel quickly ripped that one up, too, without checking its authenticity.

Guess what, kiddies! The $100 bills were completely real and legit and store staffers could have easily tested them to determine that. Most major retailers have little readers that can scan money to determine its legitimacy.

A cop finally came and sorted out the matter. Garcia said she was humiliated and detained for hours. The cop basically rescued her, saying she did nothing wrong and was free to leave.  The cop also told Walmart to give Garcia back her $200. The store manager kept digging the hole deeper by trying to give Gracia back the ripped bills.

No dice, said the cop. They had to give her undamaged money. So there.

These Walmart people were kind of cynical, don't you think? Anyone paying with a $100 bill is automatically using counterfeit money, not the real deal?  Yeah, check the bills. Trust but verify, in the immortal words of Ronald Reagan.

This whole incident  makes me nervous about ever go to a Walmart. What else is considered suspicious? Should I wear certain clothes,  maybe take fashion tips from the hilarious but sad web site "People of Walmart? Only problem is, I don't have clothes like that.  And I won't fashion my hair into a mullet.

Do I need to have the "right" credit or debit card?  Should I pay for my purchase only with $1 bills, dimes and nickels, even if my purchase amounts to something like $200?  What should my mannerisms be in a Walmart?

Walmart is getting a lot of bad press lately anyway. There was another story about how a woman wrote a $48 check to Walmart. The check bounced, and she was subsequently told to pay $280 or spend a year in jail.

Seems DA's have been using some companies that have sprung up that use District Attorney letterheads to threaten people who don't pay their bills.  Prosecutors say they have their hands full so they oursource these small cases.

Of course this woman should have been more careful and had the funds to cover the check. And she is responsible for paying Walmart the $48.  But I wonder if outsourcing bounced check prosecutions to private companies, some of whom might not care much as to whether the person is guilty of bouncing checks or not, is a good idea

And do these private companies prove that the parties are indeed guilty of wrongdoing? Who IS responsible for figuring out whether people owe cash?  And do they all use legal means to collect?  And who gets the money once it's collected?  I'd like to know more about the checks and balances on this one.

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