$2 Dispatch: Placido Menezes, MD, Orthopedic Surgeon

September 29, 2014

Copayment: Click to enlarge

Location: Placido A. Menezes, MD, PC, Brooklyn, NY

Date: January 24, 2014

Transaction: Paid $25 copayment entirely in $2 bills

What’s it like to make a copayment entirely in $2 bills? I accidentally found out when confronted with a sign telling me that copayments at my orthopedist’s office could be paid with “cash or check only!”

Copayments: Click to enlarge

Cash or check only in 2014 in Park Slope, Brooklyn? Seems a little weird, right? (Or is it just me?) Anyway, I’d fractured my leg during a joyful sprint down a sidewalk at night, and I needed an orthopedist ASAP, so I went to the closest one. The doctor himself was fine, but the office, located in a basement of an old townhouse, was a little outdated. 

I wasn’t planning on paying entirely in $2 bills. But what else could I do? I hadnt brought other denominations. So I whipped ’em out.

Copayment: Click to enlarge

Copayment: Click to enlarge

Copayment: Click to enlarge

“That’s so queer!” said the delighted black-sweatered receptionist (barely seen above). The pink-and-gray-sweatered receptionist began laying them out one at a time, making a nice grid on her desk, as seen above. Only then did she count them. (I received a $1 bill back.) I loved watching her do that — it was as if she had decided on the spot that it was the best way to visually take them all in. If so, I agree. 

She asked me where I got all the $2 bills. As usual, I said that one can go to the bank and get them. She was obviously thrilled, and so was I. Check out the happy face she made out of two exclamation points: 

Receipt: Click to enlarge

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Twos in the News

September 25, 2014

$2 Bills in the News

  • In so-called news about the Canadian $2 bill… Friends who cut up a $2 bill, divided the pieces among them, and swore on the bill to see each other again have reunited — but it took them 10 times longer than planned. “On Sept. 19, 1964, each of the eight friends took a piece of a $2 bill and promised to return to the Cozy Corner in St. Peters, N.S. in five years. But things didn’t quite work out the way they planned.” Fifty years later, those still alive reconvened. One of the friends stated:  ”…Cutting up a $2 bill in eight pieces, I think that has its own set of magic.”
         That isn’t the end of it: “The group has purchased another $2 bill. They plan to put the bill in a safety deposit box, in the hopes of returning to the same spot five years from now.” Did someone say purchased? Oh, right, because the Canadian $2 bill ceased production in 1996. 
    (September 19, 2014)

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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: 

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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!

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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.

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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. 

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"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. 

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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: 

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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):  

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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): 

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Some lovely old checks: 

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

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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

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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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