I suddenly felt hungry on my way home from work this afternoon, so I decided to stop at a Dunkin’ Donuts for a small coffee and a donut. The bill came to $2.71. I gave the cashier $20.76. He gave me back a ten, a five, a one, and a nickel.
And a two.
I’m pretty sure the last time I received a two-dollar bill in my change was the day I visited Monticello. They give change in twos because Thomas Jefferson is the portrait on the bill. That happened back when I lived in Charlottesville, Virginia. I haven’t lived there for years.
The first thing I thought of when I counted my change was James Altucher’s blog. He once wrote about how, in his younger days, he would try to impress dates by paying for dinner with two-dollar bills. It’s not clear whether or not it worked. I wondered if he’d been in Phoenix eating a donut on a Wednesday afternoon in June. Probably not.
It more likely came from the strip club down the street. The Federal Reserve noticed the circulation of two-dollar bills started to increase a decade ago in the United States, at least in part because they’re used for change in adult entertainment establishments. The theory is that since the change is used for tips, bigger bills mean bigger tips. I didn’t notice any stripper glitter in my change.
In any event, I’ll have to be careful where I spend it. Best Buy has had people arrested for tendering two-dollar bills.
Update (6/30): A link to another good story about misadventures with two-dollar bills, this one involving Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.