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The Friday question: money

One of the restaurants where I sometimes eat lunch contacted me to say that they had made a mistake and billed my credit card €2260 instead of €22.60 last time I was there with a friend. Apparently they couldn't just reverse it but wanted to refund me in cash. So I dropped in today, picked up the €2k and change, and walked it straight over to my bank, fortunately just around the corner.

I got to thinking, though, about handling large amounts of cash. I once had to bank £7000 in takings from a shop I was managing, which is certainly the most British currency I've ever handled. But in the wild days of my time in Bosnia, I routinely did the Sarajevo-Banja Luka run with more than that in Deutschmarks, probably going up to DM 50,000 occasionally, though I don't remember exactly.

These days, so much is done electronically that it is rare for me to have even a hundred euro on me in cash (muggers please note).

So, what's the most worryingly vast amount of cash you have ever handled?


( 48 comments — Leave a comment )
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Feb. 22nd, 2008 09:43 pm (UTC)

So, what's the most worryingly vast amount of cash you have ever handled?

About four grand of convention/charity money some years ago.

And, yes, for once (literally once, never done it before or since) I was illicitly armed (knives, not firearms) just in case.
Feb. 22nd, 2008 09:56 pm (UTC)
Some tens of thousands of pounds, maybe 30K? A house deposit. On many occasions I have carried 5K+ in cash for property/car transactions. These days banks get sniffy about £50 notes (money-laundering rules, I guess), so the last time I did this (18 months ago, to buy a car) I had to get £6K in £20s, which is quite a wodge.

I don't understand people who freak out about carrying large amounts of cash. Muggers can't smell money. I generally get out £200 at an ATM because that way I don't have to go to an ATM so often.

Large amounts of cash are quite bulky and heavy. All those movies with $1m in a little attache case? It'd never fit. Most recent offender: "No Country for Old Men", $2m in a little satchel. With 500 Euro notes, on the other hand.....
Feb. 22nd, 2008 10:18 pm (UTC)
I don't think I've ever wandered around with more than a few hundred myself. I do remember years ago accompanying someone who had withdrawn £1500. Someone I used to work with sold his car for cash and had to take £16,000 to the bank, where he had to explain how he had come by the money before they would accept his deposit.
Feb. 22nd, 2008 11:36 pm (UTC)
I once withdrew IR £2500 in cash and carried it across the road from my building society on Westmoreland Street to my bank on the other side of the road. It was very exciting. In the bank I had to go down to the super secure area to lodge it.
Feb. 22nd, 2008 11:44 pm (UTC)
I've held pieces of paper (inter-bank/branch transfers) for hundreds of millions of IR£. I've had about €5k in my pocket and I've held a bag (accidentally delivered to the AIB clearing department) with IR£30k in it. So yeah, some money now and again.
Feb. 23rd, 2008 12:37 am (UTC)
In value, a few hundred pounds, I think, when travelling abroad (and also when a previous housemate paid rent in cash).

In slightly different worrying vastness, three or four hundred pounds or so, but from the college Rag Week "avenue of coins". The worryingness is mostly in getting a shopping-trolley full of very small change across town (and over humped bridges) without it running away and killing someone!
Feb. 23rd, 2008 02:43 am (UTC)
When I was in college, I worked for a commercial photographer. For one shoot, I forget who the client was, 200 fresh crisp $100 bills were required for the shot. The money was dropped off by a bank employee in exchange for a check from the client.
When the day was over, my boss had me take the cash back (in the requisite brown paper bag)to the bank before closing time. Which showed great trust on his part and great restraint on mine since the route included two of my favorite bars and a used musical instrument store known for their vintage Gibson Les Paul selection....
Feb. 23rd, 2008 06:05 am (UTC)
I must be more paranoid. I've never been mugged, and the rates for such crime are relatively low in this part of Belfast (unless you count the exorbitant amount we pay for car insurance, which some may consider highway robbery). Nevertheless, I generally avoid carrying large amounts of cash.

This goes double if any muggers are reading.
Feb. 23rd, 2008 07:57 am (UTC)
I used to work as a courier for a very large law firm in Toronto. I would make weekly trips to the Credit Suisse with packages that contained who knows what. Can't give a dollar figure, obviously, but probably a very big one.

I never felt entirely safe doing this, I have to admit.
Feb. 23rd, 2008 09:32 am (UTC)
What tends to worry me is not the amount but the number of bank notes
I remember carrying the equivalent of 250 euros in Kirov, North Eastern European Russia to purchase multiple train fares for a group trip I was organizing. That should have been around 15k in rubles. I have to say I felt astounded with the amount of individual bank notes my 250 euros converted into ruble. The bank only had 100 notes. Therefore I had 150 bank notes in my pocket. Felt unsafe for sure.

Most recently I walked down from the office in Brussels to transfer 7k euros through western union. That was only 14 bank notes. Not enough to bend my pocket... Felt safe, definitely.
Feb. 23rd, 2008 10:02 am (UTC)
I gave an invited lecture at a conference in South Korea some years ago, for which I received an honorarium of about £500. In South Korean Won, this came to about KRW900,000. I was paid with a cheque drawn on a local bank; rather than try and cash this in the UK, I cashed it at the hotel (who didn't bat an eyelid). The largest note in common circulation is only KRW5000, so I ended up flying back to the UK with a thick wad of notes to change.
Feb. 23rd, 2008 10:37 am (UTC)
I used to celebrate lunchtime on Mondays by routinely throwing at least IR£100,000 across the room - mind you, I had been locked in there all morning with a colleague doing the night safes.
Feb. 23rd, 2008 11:32 am (UTC)
£5k. It was the deposit on a flat, and they were going to take three days to transfer it, or charge me £30, so I took it out in one bank, walked up the street to another one, and paid it in there.

I did feel a tad nervous.
Feb. 23rd, 2008 05:02 pm (UTC)
I once walked to the bank with about 800 quid. Doesn't sound like much, but it was all in pound coins. That amount of coin takes up less space than you might think, but weighs considerably more than you imagine. Still, at least I didn't have to worry about anyone snatching the bag from me: I would have been able to catch up with them without breaking sweat.
Feb. 28th, 2008 08:20 pm (UTC)
Mr Quicken....following the trails of his past
Mr. Nicholas good to see you again, and thank you for the reference of the 50K DM run which you used to make when you were with the NDI. When you used to make that run to Sarajevo - the DM were worth about US 38,000. Well, today - with the state of the dollar those DM would probobly be worth $75,000 USD. What a difference 10 years make. I hope that you and your family are doing well - I'm semi retired now and have long left Washington, D.C.

Feb. 28th, 2008 09:39 pm (UTC)
Re: Mr Quicken....following the trails of his past
Michael - great to hear from you again! You are a bit young to be semi-retired - I hope life has treated you well in the interim!
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