Published April 14, 2009
It was the colour of the head of Benjamin Franklin on the $100 note that alerted me that something was wrong - the background was white when it should have been grey. Closer inspection picked up other anomalies; the green colour-changing ink did not colour-change, the water mark was visible on the surface of the note and the serial numbers were the wrong font and not even in a straight line. The quality of the printing in general was below par; it looked like the ink had run on the paper. There were two more in the pile that I picked out easily. What to do? I called the foreman in who’d accepted the money but he rightly pointed out that it had come in over several days.
I did a bit of sleuthing on the computer and there were only three customers who’d given us more than a 100 dollars in that time period. It was unlikely to have been the one who’d paid only $132 as two of the fake notes had serial numbers within a value of 5. There was another customer who’d paid in $400 as a deposit. Possible, but the most suspicion fell on one who’d given us a deposit of $2400 on a big order and who I knew was battling to find the money. Did he knowingly pass the notes on? I’d no idea and although I’d picked them out easily enough, I showed one to another customer and he admitted that he would not have noticed it was fake. Anyway, I could not prove who’d given them to us. I was more than a bit annoyed by the foreman’s lack of attention as I’d warned my staff to be on the lookout for counterfeit notes and had showed them the colour changing ink which is very difficult to forge. I told him if it happened again I’d use the notes to pay him. Then I wondered if maybe he needs glasses as he is not much younger than me.
So what to do with the money? Trevor suggested passing it on but I was pretty sure I would not get away with it though I could feign ignorance and I’m not a great actor. Trouble was where to use it? Zimbabwe being what it is I know most of the people in the places where I purchase inputs and there was no ways I could do that to them. A supermarket? Maybe, but they would be the most likely to pick up fake notes. The police? No chance, they’d just find a way to spend it! I was still mulling it over when I got home at 5 p.m. Then it suddenly hit me; WHY WAS I EVEN THINKING THIS WAY! What has this country done to me that I would even consider passing fake money on? So I guess I’ll just keep them for some rather expensive entertainment value.