No Reaction! (Episode 3)

September 19, 2014

Time again for another episode of: People Who Just Don’t Care About the $2 Bill! (See earlier segments here and here, in which I explain in more detail why I like to document this.) As I’ve said before, I love getting no reaction to $2 bills — some people actually treat them as just plain old money, and that’s good to find. So here we go with more:  

Location: Double Down Saloon, Las Vegas 
Date: October 12, 2013
Transaction: Spent a $2 bill on a beer
No reaction!

Location: The Owl Farm, Park Slope, Brooklyn
Date: October 28, 2013
Transaction: Spent a $2 bill on a beer
No reaction!

Location: The Bowery Electric, NY, NY
Date: November 16, 2013
Transaction: This wasn’t technically “no reaction,” but close. 
Admission to the rock show (The Scene Is Now) was $8. Out of necessity, I paid with six $1 bills and one $2 bill. The doorman said nothing, but he paused and grappled with the bills as if he didn’t know what to do with them.

Location: Paul’s Bar and Bowling, Paterson, NJ
Date: December 7, 2013
Transaction: Used two $2 bills to buy a Taylor Ham Sandwich for Paul and something else for me
No reaction!

Portrait of $2 bills in cash transaction at Paul’s Bar and Bowling: 


Location: Bluestockings Bookstore, NY, NY
Date: December 7, 2013
Transaction: Purchased tea with a $2 bill. The young lady at the register registered a vague sense of confusion, but she said nothing and processed the bill normally. I then asked: “Have you ever gotten a $2 bill?” She replied: “No. I think my dad showed me one once.”

Location: DNY Natural Land, Park Slope, Brooklyn
Date: December 16, 2013
Transaction: Spent a $2 bill on groceries
No reaction!

Location: 6th Avenue Deli, Park Slope, Brooklyn
Date: December 19, 2013
Transaction: Spent a $2 bill on a sandwich
No reaction!


Where Do You Keep $2 Bills? Contribute to the $2 Bill Documentary

September 12, 2014

Here’s a chance to contribute to The Two Dollar Bill Documentary, which is still in production in Florida. The filmmaker sent out this call for contributions this week:  

Where do you keep your $2 bills? We are now soliciting video submissions showing us where you’ve stashed yours; if selected, your clip could end up in the film! Follow the guidelines provided in this video to show us your twos, but do so soon — you only have until September 22. Good luck!”

He says: “If you’re like many Americans who’ve saved your $2 bills, I want to see where you keep them. Your kitchen drawer, in a beer stein, car ashtray — anything but your wallet or purse.”

I can’t contribute to this worthy cause because I keep my $2 bills in my wallet, ready for spending. But the rest of you have 10 more days.


Deuces Wild: $2 Bill Spending Spree, Los Angeles Edition

September 11, 2014

I don’t just like spending $2 bills — I like hearing about other people’s experiences spending $2 bills (so send ’em in). Today we have something from a fellow fan of the $2 bill, Jared Abrams in California, who shared a couple $2 bill spending experiences he’s had this week: 

“This is Raul from Al’s Liquor on Melrose and Beachwood in Hollywood, California. I usually slip him $2 bills, so he’s used to them.”

Click to enlarge

“Tony at K&C Donut on the way to Dodgers Stadium. I use $2 bills to buy lotto tickets. 

Click to enlarge

"Happy two-dollaring! I get mine from US Bank with no issues whatsoever. Just ask in advance. A $2 bill is always a conversation starter.”

Thanks, Jared! Los Angeles is a couple $2 bills better off today. 

$2 Dispatch: Shades of Green

September 5 , 2014

Location: Shades of Green, NY, NY

Date: January 23, 2014

Transaction: Used two $2 bills to pay for drinks

As I’ve mentioned before, spending $2 bills around people who haven’t been in the United States very long has an additional layer of interest.

At Shades of Green in Manhattan, our bartender was a woman from Dublin, Ireland. In contrast to this other bartender from Ireland who could hardly believe $2 bills were real, she didn’t blink an eye at my $2 bills. Something about the experience felt unfinished, and my friend Aaron impulsively started talking to her about the $2 bills.

“It’s all Monopoly money to me,” she said. “It’s all green. All our money is different colors.”

And that was that. 

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Field Trip: Museum of American Finance

September 2, 2014

This past weekend I visited the Museum of American Finance, a small museum in a large former bank, where I took many terrible, terrible photos. 


I was hoping to encounter information about the $2 bill, of course. There wasn’t much, but I’ll share a few items.

Let’s start with the horrible photo above. This was the $2 bill highlight of the museum. Inside tip: You can call 212-514-0014 for the museum audio guide and enter the object number, 469, to hear the museum’s recording about the $2 bill, which includes: 

“The $2 bill and Susan B. Anthony dollar were conceived as ways of reducing demand for $1 bills, but they both proved to be unpopular. … With hindsight we can say neither one of them was exceptionally successful, to say the least.”

The fellow in the recording is a fan of the art of the understatement, it would appear. 

Next, in this appallingly bad photograph, you can read a caption that was positioned below another $2 bill: 


The percentage cited above has improved since the museum last updated its display. A certain New York Times piece earlier this year (that I hope you all have read, and if you haven’t, you should) stated that $2 bills “account for…3 percent of the total volume of notes, according to the Federal Reserve.” 

Next we have some historic bond certificates featuring the very face we know and love from the $2 bill (without explanation):  




And now some other bits of interest that aren’t related to the $2 bill but seemed worthy of capturing nonetheless —

The constantly changing debt clock (with germane Alexander Hamilton quotation): 


Some lovely old checks: 



A forged check from 1909 with an angry note from a banker: 



Last but not least…how could I resist dropping a $2 bill into the donation bin at the end? Answer: I could not. (I was surprised to see no other $2 bills in there.) 


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$2 Dispatch: Leslie’s Classic Wines

August 28, 2014

Leslie's Classic Wines: Click to enlarge

Location: Leslie’s Classic Wines, Brooklyn, NY

Date: January 12, 2014

Transaction: Purchased a bottle of wine with a $2 bill

“No! No! You can’t spend this! You can’t!” asserted Michelle, above (click to enlarge), when I used a $2 bill to pay for a bottle of wine. 

“Someone gave me a $2 bill once and I never spent it. I never spent it. I’m probably gonna put this one in my purse”…and put two of her own $1 bills in the cash-register drawer, she said. 

In sum: She never spent it. 

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$2 Dispatch: Mariella Pizza

August 25, 2014

Mariella Pizza: Click to enlarge

Location: Mariella Pizza, NYC

Date: January 7, 2014

Transaction: Paid for a slice of pizza with two $2 bills 

Phil, above (click to enlarge), did what many people do when they receive $2 bills — he identified it not just visually but verbally: “$2 bills!”

I love when someone does that. It’s as if simply seeing a $2 bill isn’t enough to confirm its existence — it must be verified by putting a vocal stamp on it. 

I asked Phil if he ever gets $2 bills at his place of employment. 

Phil: “Once in a while.”

Then I asked whether he minds getting them. 

Phil: “Ah…it’s all the same. It’s money.” And then… “It’s money, right?”

Upon further thought, he continued, “I don’t like two dollars’ worth of pennies.” (Who does, Phil?) 

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Special Event: Show Us Your Junk

August 15, 2014


Attention, $2 bill enthusiasts! On Wednesday, August 20, I’ll be speaking about the $2 bill — specifically its 1976 reissue and redesign — at Show Us Your Junk, an “educational show-and-tell night” at Union Hall in Brooklyn. I’ll discuss the bills pictured here. Admission is five bucks, and the winner of my trivia question will get a 1976 $2 bill, so admission really works out to three bucks if you come armed with $2 bill knowledge. Come say hi if you attend — ideally during intermission (because I’ll have to leave during the second half to go run a karaoke night).

More info:

Union Hall

Brooklyn Brainery

Facebook event page


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$2 Dispatch: The Gate

August 13, 2014

The Gate: Click to enlarge

Location: The Gate, Brooklyn, NY

Date: January 1, 2014

Transaction: Paid for a drink with two $2 bills

It was New Year’s Day, and I was feeling mildly celebratory. I set down two $2 bills for my drink. “$2 bills!!” the bartender exclaimed when she saw them. She said she always keeps $2 bills when she gets them, and she carries them in her wallet. She and her roommate “just decided that it was good luck — always keep a $2 bill in your wallet.”

That’s something I hear from people a lot — always keep a $2 bill in your wallet (“because then you’re never broke,” as a guy put it to me once). Back in February I posted about a bartender at Montero’s who does that too: “I carry one in my wallet for good luck,” he said. 

The above bartender at the Gate said that a friend of hers who worked at a place in Red Hook rejected a customer’s $2 bill because he thought it was fake. Further, he thought all $2 bills weren’t real. I felt a surge of envy upon hearing that — I wanted to be the customer whose $2 bill was rejected. Because even though I support the idea of $2 bills being more commonly circulated, I savor the experience of having them denied. (Here’s an example.)

(Photo taken by Emma Williford on her telephone)

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$2 Dispatch: Antonio’s Pizza

August 8, 2014

Antonio's Pizza deliveryman: Click to enlarge

Location: My apartment doorway, Brooklyn, NY

Date: December 31, 2013

Transaction: Slipped two $2 bills into pizza payment (Antonio’s Pizza)

I’m not ashamed to say that on New Year’s Eve I called for a pizza delivery and watched a VHS tape of Pulp Fiction while the rest of you were out scallywagging around town. (I’ll mention that it was preceded by a very nice New Year’s Eve-ternoon.)

To be festive, I gave the pizza deliveryman two $2 bills instead of just one, since it was New Year’s Eve, and all. He didn’t have a firm grasp of English, so I’ll never know whether he recognized the $2 bills as special. Maybe he thought they were normal. Regardless, continuing the spirit of festivity, I wanted to take his picture with them, which I think just bewildered him. (As you can plainly see, if there’s one thing I’m not, it’s a professional photographer.) Happy New Year to him! 

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