Monday, March 12, 2012

Your money is no good here

The bus drops me off early enough at the Oshawa GO station that I have time to buy a coffee at the Gateway "Newstand" (I use this term loosely since there are more chocolate bars and beverages at this particular outlet than newspapers).

This morning was hellish. I don't care what the clock said. When I got up my brain said 4:30 am. When I walked to the bus stop IN THE DARK (eff you daylight savings) my brain was clearly registering 5:30 am.

I was so out of it. I knew I needed coffee. (I still feel I could use another one)

I asked for an extra large ($1.70 - a bargain if you consider coffee prices at other places) and pulled out a tenner.

"Nuh-uh-uh!" Exclaimed Mr. Coffee Man. "I don't take that kind of $10 bill. It's counterfeit."

He actually stood back from the counter and raised his hands up in the air. From the way he reacted, one would have thought I just handed him my dirty underwear.

I asked him why he thought it was fake. I also reminded him that the bank of Canada frowns upon retailers who outright refuse to accept bills even if they feel the bank note is counterfeit especially considering he had no signage indicating he refuses THIS EXACT TYPE OF TEN DOLLAR BILL (see below):

"I only accept the ones with the shiny stripe," he says. Like this one:

But clearly dude knew the rules (scroll to the Legal Tender section) because he told me he would accept whatever other money I may have on hand, even if it was change and even if I was short because he knew he couldn't outright deny me my purchase. This location also takes debit, so there other options for payment.

Years ago, I took this course about counterfeiting and I remember the instructor telling us that if there was matter of dispute about legal tender where a resolution couldn't be met (such as one party disagreeing if the note was legal or not) a mutual decision about payment could be met using other methods such as tap dancing for the retailer, or mopping floors, and even washing dishes. This may be a load of crap now (considering the introduction and use of debit cards) but it made sense back then.

I needed the coffee. And yes, I could use my debit card but he didn't seem too keen on it considering the size of the transaction.

I was able to come up with $1.70 after digging through my bag and pockets.

When I got to work, I went into the CIBC branch in my building and asked them to check the bill. It was legit.

Drink that, Mr. Coffee Man!

I did, however, ask the bank to give me two fives in exchange for the note. Ones with shiny stripes on them. And Mr. Coffee Man? He needs to make a sign.


AngelSil said...

He's lucky he wasn't dealing with me. Getting between me and coffee ends badly.

I hate daylight savings time. Hate. Hate. Hate. Grew up in a place that didn't have it and I've never appreciated it.

Harith said...

Wonder how the owners of these little coffee shops are reacting to GO's plans to do their own food and beverage services in the stations.

TomW said...

I don't think GO will provide the service themsleves- they'll just have more stations where they rent out space.

On legal tender... legal tender only matters if you have a debt to settle - which generally means a service has been provided, or goods have already been used. With retail, no debt exists at the point of sale (because you haven't drunk the coffee), so the merchent can demand whatever payment methods they want.

Zjack said...

Hooray! My bank knowledge pays off!

The bill you're describing was from a short period of time when the new $10 bills became available, but before they had implemented the updated counterfeit technology - the "shiny stripe" as he put it.

So al though there are a lot of these "fake" $10 bills out there, they appear to be somewhat crappy fakes, as whomever printed the bills obviously must have forgotten to put the stripe on them.

Trade them in at the bank, or use them at bigger retail stores - the employees there don't give a damn.

Vanessa said...

I completely forgot about Daylight Savings when I left the house at 0700hrs. I was so surprised by the darkness that I had to re-check my cellphone a few times as I was walking to the bus stop to make sure I was up at the right time. On the upside, it won't be dark when I board the train home to Brampton. Yay!

matt said...

Reminded me of a time my wife (who cleans houses) came home with a wad of $5’s that a client used to pay her fee. She came across one without the holographic stripe and said “This is a Fugazi! Take it downtown and try to get rid of it.” I tried explaining to her that a lack of holographic stripe did not make it fake. Moreover, there isn’t a criminal on the planet stupid enough to try to counterfeit mass quantities of $5 bills when $20’s are worth 4x as much. She insisted. Even when I showed her proof on the internet that bank notes were only manufactured with this stripe in the mid-90’s, and that immediately prior to that the notes were identical, save the stripe.

Nevertheless, knowing it was legit, I took it to work, bought a coffee in the food court, and didn’t pay it another thought.

Matt said...


A retail purchase is a type of contract. Breach of that contract can arise if either part fails to meet its end of the agreement. In this case, if the vendor is refusing to accept legal tender for payment of goods that he has advertised for sale, that’s a breach.

Anonymous said...

Should have paid your purchase entire with pennies and see what the reaction is?

Dan-1 said...

I have a pair of almost sequencial mint-condition "early" new $5's stashed away, fresh from the bank machine, before they put the strip on.

Currency collector nerds, eat your hearts out.

NN aka HW said...

BTW His coffee is horrible - i bought it once and never again.

TomW said...

There is no contract. The vendor hasn't agreed to sell you anything. A contract requires agreement on both sides - the coffee store can refuse to sell you something.
Legal tender *only* applies to settle an existing debt. You don't owe the coffee seller anything, because they haven't given you anythign yet.

Matt said...


Offer and acceptance. Vendor offers his goods for sale. Purchaser accepts offer and advertised price. Contract is formed. The acceptance is implied, not explicit. You don’t need to announce to a cashier “I agree to purchase this coffee at your advertised price of $1.40.” These are basic principles of a contract. Look it up.

TomW said...

@Matt: The offer is made by the buyer, not the seller. The seller refused - hence no contract.

Lin's Appetite said...

just happened to me today, soo pissed because I was just talking about how crypot currency can't be counterfeited.