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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?


Feb. 22nd, 2008 08:03 pm (UTC)
Oddly enough it was 1.5K GBP which was everything I had to live on in Brussels for 3 months - I took this amount over annually when I was a research student. It came over with me as cash on a cross-channel ferry or plane, and got walked into the Galerie Ravenstein branch of Bank Generale where I had my account as soon as it opened the next day.

Oddly enough the account had been opened for me by HSBC as Bank Generale were their Belgian partners. The Galerie Ravenstein branch was their selection, and is by no means a 'normal' branch.

I would walk in (usually with a filthy backpack full of all my worldly goods) and announce to the bemused security guard that I had an account there and wished to make a deposit. I would be whisked away to a room downstairs, where a flunky would set out coffee and chocolates whilst I would await the arrival of a personal banker. The game was to eat as many of the chocolates as possible before the banker arrived, for they and the coffee would be instantly removed as soon as he had looked in the paper file and seen what my balance usually was (~1000 BF) and I was not an eccentric multi-millionaire. Then I would make my deposit, collect a fresh 'Mr Cash' card from him (for I was not allowed a cheque book) and say my goodbyes for the year.

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