Saturday, March 15, 2008

bringin' it back

any of the pop-music savvy among us knows that JT (justin timberlake) is "bringing sexy back." it's MY mission, however, to help TJ (thomas jefferson) bring back one of his legacies - the two dollar bill. though the frequently forgotten bill was first printed in 1862 and features the portrait of the first Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, the $2 bill that we all know and love bears TJ's visage and began circulation in 1869.

i've been met with a wide range of reactions upon spending my "tom's" (as coined by several numismatic enthusiasts). i've had cashiers refuse to accept them, i've had people offer to buy them from me, i've gotten TONS of doubting and suspicious looks, and most commonly i hear, "you sure you want to spend this?" of course i want to spend it. it's money! most people think that $2 bills are novelties or that their rarity makes them collectible. both ideas are false and it's this self-perpetuating cycle of nonsense that keeps poor "tom" relegated to souvenir boxes and not out there rubbing elbows with his other brethren of currency. the $2 bill, although not as popular as the other denominations, is still a viable and vital bill in our current currency structure. according to the U.S treasury, as of april 30, 2007 there were $1,549,052,714 worth of $2 bills in circulation worldwide. because people "save" them or "collect" them or keep one folded and tucked inside their wallet "for luck," a percentage of that 1.5 billion is laying dormant in an economy that could use any kick in the pants we can muster. the hoarding of $2 bills defies good common sense so i'm here to spread the message...the $2 is the new $1!

think about it...what costs a dollar anymore? small things that used to cost under a buck like snacks, drinks, a loaf of bread, a gallon of gas, a cup of coffee, or bus fare, now cost at least a dollar and change. this creates a twofold unwanted and unwieldy profusion. because $2 bills are rarely used, this causes the buildup of singles in every pocket, wallet, billfold, and purse around. because of inflation, the things we would have previously used a $1 bill to pay for now require us to use more of them. secondly, the coinage from the use of more $1's builds up in our pockets, on dresser tops, and vehicle cup-holders. the good news is that it can all be stopped. embrace the $2! the $2 is your friend!

aside from the wear and tear switching to deuces would save the seams of our pockets, it could also stand to be a step in a (forgive the pun) greener direction. it was pointed out in Economic Reviews by Suzanne J. Stone (Mar/Apr 1976 Vol. 62 No. 2) that by replacing about half the "ones" with an equivalent dollar volume of "twos", thus decreasing the number of bills in circulation, the Federal Government would save about $5 million (in 1976 dollars) in printing, handling, storage, and shipping costs. individuals would need to carry fewer $1's thereby facilitating small cash transactions and reducing the number of pieces of currency retailers and banks must handle. decreased handling, in turn, will help to lower business operating costs. not bad, eh?

businesses have also periodically employed the two as a clever advertising method and have shown by doing so that TJ's double-dollar can hold it's own in a Washington-centric world. other establishments, such as nightclubs and bars, have welcomed the $2, often giving them as change to their patrons. in turn, many of the $2's end up back in the bartender's or dancer's"receptacle" to be recirculated once more. some people have reported that using the $2 to tip or pay for dances or drinks makes them more memorable to the servers and attracts better service throughout their consumer experience.

so no matter whether your motive is to bolster the economy, to show appreciation for our nation's numismatic heritage , to help your local exotic dancer pay their way through college, or just to lighten the load on your wallet, the next time you're at the bank, ask for a few $2's. most banks carry at least $100 worth of them and will give them to you if you ask.

the $2 is the new $1! embrace it. love it. live it.


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