More Than One Way


More Than One Way

     “How can you identify paper money if you cannot see to read it?" Asked my new client. Ellie is eighty-seven years old, has macular degeneration and can no longer read print. I'm Ellie's rehabilitation teacher and am blind myself. I had just asked her to put her blindfold on and we were sitting at her kitchen table. Today's session would concentrate on non-visual methods for currency identification.

     "Well, like most tasks there is more than one way to accomplish it. First, the initial identification is usually the more complicated. Unless you have an electronic device to scan and read the denomination, you must trust in someone to tell you. Like, when you get money from the bank or a store, have it counted out in front of others in line. Or from an ATM…again you’ll have to work out some assistance.

     Second, once identified, you organize it in a fashion that makes sense to you. The most common method is folding each denomination in a different pattern. For example…” I quickly demonstrated my personal method for folding ones, fives, tens, and twenties, handing her each bill as I finished with it.

     Her next question didn't surprise me, being a natural for our topic. "Aren't you afraid of being cheated, ah….short changed?”

     "Not really. Most people are honest. And for those who aren’t, don’t give them the chance to cheat. For example: Say the bill is eight dollars and you don't have the exact amount. Don't give them a big bill, like a twenty. Think ahead. If you give a twenty, you could be given back three bills, told they were two ones and a ten and for all you know, the bills could all be ones! Instead, give them a ten or two fives; not giving them a chance to substitute, because the only type of bill they could give you back would be one's.”

     "Makes sense." She said. "Could they put Braille on the bills for us?"

     ""Let's look at that." Thinking a Braille lesson would be good, I selected my bill from the samples. "Here is a ten, fairly stiff yet. Grab your slate and label it."

     “Hmm…” she mused, looking at her handiwork, “I’m wondering how long this Braille would last? Oh well, now I know there is more than one way to make our money accessible. This should make my trips to the coffee shop a lot nicer.”

     After Ellie’s, I decided to treat myself and so stopped in a local market. Inside, one question got me to the display of candy and the familiar shape of the bar I wanted didn't take long to find.

     My turn at the register came. "One Butterfinger, $1.05, please." Said the male cashier.

     "Here's a ten." I said, laying out the bill; needing more change for the bus.

     "$1.05 out of that... Here is your money, sir."

     Putting the coins in my pocket, bills in hand, I said, "Which is the five, top or bottom?"

     "Neither." Said the lady behind me. "You don't have a five."

     "You gave me a five." Said the cashier.

     "No." Said the lady. "I saw him give you a ten.”

     It got confusing at this point with me, the cashier, and several people in line all speaking.

     "Please, ladies and gentlemen. I am the manager. May I help straighten this out?" A commanding voice overrode us all.

     "We seem to have a mix-up with our money." I explained the transaction, showing him the four ones.

     "That's right!" Spoke up the lady next to me. "I saw the ten."

     "Jack," said the manager to the cashier, "a simple mistake. Give the man the rest of his change."

     "No, that's not it!" A woman further back in the line asserted. "He put this gentleman's bill in his apron pocket!"

     Fumbling in the drawer, the cashier sputtered. "Naa, naa, no! I'll get a five for him."

     "Jack, what's this lady talking about?" Asked the now very interested manager. But with no immediate answer forthcoming from his increasingly flustered employee, he reached out and took ahold of the cashier's apron. "What are these in your apron pocket?"

     "Ah, tips, and just my money." The cashier said and sounded very nervous.

     I spoke up. "There is more than one way to figure this out. If my ten is there it can be easily identified, it has Braille on it.”


e-mail responses to

**1. Amusing and to the point. There is no single means to cope with any of the tasks we perform as blind people. Friends and blind acquaintances always laugh when we exchange bills because I have seldom met any two that have exactly the same pattern of how bills should be folded. Some prefer to keep bills divided into specially designed wallets with separate pockets for each denomination. Generally we will also confirm with a sighted person too if we can to be sure everyone is happy with the denominations. I own a bill identifier too, but if I carried all of the electronic and adaptive devices that I use around with me, I'd need a luggage cart. If there's a will, then there is a way to handle most tasks and I think that is important to remember. We each must decide what will work for us individually. For example, I like to Braille with French knots on the labels of my clothes the colors while another might decide to limit their clothing choices to a single color or ones that blend well. Someone else might want to sew in premade Braille labels or another might choose to use a marking system such as small safety pins in all black slacks, remove the tags from navy ones and cut the tags diagonally on gray ones. I won't buy two identical to the touch items of clothing such as blouses but someone else might chose to mark one identical blouse in blue and leave the white one without a marker.
Whatever works for us is what we should do.

DeAnna Quietwater Noriega USA

**2. I have a technique for dealing with this that many other blind folks use. I carry ones and fives, and keep them separate, so can give exact change. At the bank, if I get cash, I insist the teller count the bills twice. The problem comes in with plastic, you have no way of verifying that the right amount has been entered and is being charged until you get home and can check online...if you have that ability.

Dan Australia Blind-X listserv

**3. Interesting provoker. We're practically the only country in the world that insists on having money the same size and with no Braille on it.
Israel and Holland have Braille on their bills. Other countries have bills of differing sizes. In fact, in Austria they have a simple plastic money identifier which you slide your schillings into. It is marked with the different sizes and if you measure your bill, it will come out to be the correct size.

As for being cheated, never had that happen, thank God. But I always say out loud what bill I gave to the clerk. I usually say, out of ten or twenty or whatever.

Ann K. Parsons Blind-X listserv

**4. I guess I fold differently than a lot of folks do, as I was never formally taught--I guess, but the time I got RT training, I had already devised my own method.

Cheating is quite common, IMO; a fast-food restaurant tried to do that to me here, and I was with my sighted sister-in-law.

I need to be more like Ann and announce what I'm giving the cashier; I do always make them tell/show me which is/are the larger denomination bills.

Darla Blind-X

**5. Ann, I have been cheated numerous times. Several times in the United States and more than a dozen times elsewhere in the world.

It is not only devastating when it happens but if you are dealing with a bank when it happens and you return afterwards to report the situation when you discover it you are then insulted further by being accused of theft yourself or an attempted theft. It is a no win situation for the blind person involved.

Lisa and Paprika

**6. Ottawa Canada

At one point a year or two ago, my sense of touch was so far gone I could not tell a dime from a two dollar coin! Since then, it has recovered so I can identify coins by touch.

Normally I either fold my banknotes or use a two compartment wallet, with say big bills in the back and the smaller ones up front.

It has been my experience that the vast majority of cashiers, bank tellers and taxi drivers are honest and any short changing is usually due to an honest mistake.

Take care.

Brian Lingard ACB-L listserv

**7. in 1975, I woke up one morning and realized that I could no longer see well enough to tell my money apart. i called a blind friend, and asked him how he did it, and I have been doing it that way ever since. In all of that time, I was only taken advantage of once, and that was by a cab driver, and occured while I was traveling, and because of being busy, whatever, i wasn't keeping up with folding my money. in fact, there have been a few times when I handed a restaurant cashier, ticket seller, etc. too much money, and the clerk called it to my attention. I think that the vast majority of people are more honest than we give them credit for. Now, having said that, my wife lost her wallet in a hotel restaurant last fall. She dropped it in an area that was empty, except for a restaurant employee bussing tables. She saw him suddenly dash into the kitchen, and of course, the wallet was nowhere to be found, but she couldn't get anyone including hotel security to do any more than to ask him if he had seen the wallet. He, of course, said 'no" and nothing further was done.

Andy Baracco ACB-L listserv

**8. This is a tough one and dealing with money just requires a little common sense. In above case, not much you can do but hope someone will witness the transaction and help you out. Best thing to do is carry the shirt pocket version of an electronic bill identifier; however, if you don't have that, learn some little tricks. For instance, if you give a ten dollar bill for a three dollar purchase, you should get seven dollars change. Right? The clerk tells you he has given you two ones and a five back for your change.
You ask him to identify the five, then give it back to him and ask for five ones. Braille hardly works, unless all of his bills are marked in Braille.
I don't have a problem identifying what I give a clerk. The problem is identifying what is given back to me. Best solution: get an electronic bill identifier.

James Theall Longmont, Colorado

**9. I have been short-changed twice, and both times I just had a gut feeling that I wasn't being given the correct change, but I was young, and very shy, and
it would have been my word against theirs. I just let it go, but I quickly learned not to give too big a bill. Fortunately, most people are honest, but
it is a creepy feeling when it happens.

Sue Tileet Princeton, NJ

**10. this "tp" reminds me of the questions that arise concerning education and its purposes. Education, especially that education which involves higher level thinking, should be about the task of teaching people to open their own vistas of opportunity, rather than teaching them to create an empty chasm into which to drop items of fact and information. The former, then will help the person make the correct and informed choices best meant for themselves.
The Braille money issue is the perfect example. There's nothing wrong with Brailing money; it could be done at a bank when the teller counts out the bills. Marking in a special way would work, too, should a person not know Braille. But all too often, there exists a certain mentality which cannot surpass the boundary presented by difficulties. That mentality demands that everyone's money be brailed in some far-off part of the country where money is printed; at whose expense, I'm not sure. The thought is, that if everyone's money is brailed, then problems about identification will be non-existent.
Small wonder, then, solutions to problems are impossible for the kind of mind-set demanding a "one size fits all" solution.
In Taiwan, where they use chops to sign a name, ;they marvel at the hand-written signature in the west, believing it's so easy to forge. I wonder how a chop cannot be forged, but my friends swear it's almost impossible. Yet, I've taken to a similar solution to the signature problem for myself.
Anyway, to cut to the main issue: Is thinking through a problem and working out a solution that fits a special need and circumstance the appropriate means for problem solution? I think so, and I think that is what this vignette suggests. I'd always want to be a person who considers and forms a plan based on what is needed at the moment; I try to teach my students to be that flexible.
And, about the cashier who cheated - These kind of people are a bit like ants. If you see one, you've probably got a million. I mean, she was caught after, how many weeks or months of cheating customers. But I agree that probably most people are pretty honest.

kat Guam

**11. IS it not illegal to write or punch hole in bill. It is illegal to deface money?

So if we Braille our money is not consider deface the money?

What I do when I go to bank to get money,
1 I ask bank teller place bills in my hand one at time all ten first.
2 Then I put then away.
Then I have them count five out .

I tell them how ten I want and how many five, etc. and I have them put them directly in my hand one bill at a time.

Like for example I want sixty dollars
I want it in three ten dollars bill and then six five dollars bills.

I have found almost all teller are more than willing to do that way.

There is less likely to cheat you that way. That do not mean they want give you wrong bill in your hand and cheat you. But I found this system pretty well.

I also do that at store. I do not allow them just lay change in my hand, but I have them count money back to me one bill at a time and change they same way.

I know they do not like doing this way, but I want that get short change.

If they have to count each bill less likely to cheat you.

In many years I work in retail store that way I train many employee to count they money out to customer one bill at a time.

It is also less likely that employer get shorten in there cash register also.

But most company today do not teach employee proper handling of money.

Dexter Blind-X listserv

**12. Yes it is illegal to deface currency in the US but I think most of us were dreaming of the day when the federal reserve would start punching tactile identifiers on our currency.

Frank Blind-X listserv

**13. I don't have anything really cogent to add, except that I personally don't use the folding method, because I've found that it makes my wallet too bulky, if I have a lot of ones or fives or whatever; people who might see my wallet seeming so bulky, as I was paying for something for example, might conclude I have a lot more money than I do, and might then try to take it.
The wallet I have had two compartments--one of which I use for ones, the other I use for fives, tens, 20s, etc. I keep them in ascending order front to back and remember how many of which--two fives, two tens, whatever. It's not a foolproof method, and if I ever actually have enough money in the same place to become confused, I might adopt another method--but the bulkiness is my one criticism of the folding method.

Mark BurningHawk Blindlaw listserv

**14. Hmmm, let's see! Did anyone ever think that Braille wouldn't last very long, on a well-used bill? Probably but I have to applaud the person who did put Braille on her bill! She was testing the "honesty" waters...and she won! I've been where she was and in a crowd of people, someone usually steps forward to help if I believe I've been given the wrong amount of change! Taking advantage of a blind person, or anyone else is deplorable and the guy behind the counter had no scruples about WHO he took advantage of. Like folding bills, labeling soup cans or putting marks on a microwave, there's more than one way...and there's certainly more than one way to exploit people be they blind, crippled, able-bodied, young, old, etc.

Jo, Aggie and Salaam

**15. Hi Darla and List.. Sad to say I've gotten badly hosed... Usually by club owners. I once had a fellow give me what he said was a hundred dollars, turned out to be five crisp 1 dollar bills. That for six hours on stage quite a marathon. It's yet another reason I got out of that line of work...

Jack Blind-X listserv

**16. Hi Darla, I was following this thread and thinking about the days when I was sighted and, and even then how often I got the wrong change. Now, I am sure most of the time it was unintentional, but being intentionally cheated does happen. I was once a manager at a gas station and I had one attendant that would ways give a 1 for change when he was supposed to give a 10. If the customer noticed he would just be apologetic and give them the correct change. If they did not notice then he pocketed 9 bucks. Not a bad little bonus for someone who makes 4 bucks an hour. Now my next thought was how many times it has happened since I was blind. I can't say for sure cheating is more commonly directly towards the blind. I think someone who is brazen enough to cheat you is brazen enough to cheat anyone. I am sure most of us try to pay with the smallest denomination bills possible which always cuts down the chance of errors either intentionally or unintentionally.

Frank Blind-X listserv

**17. I think the only problem with the Braille method, besides for how long the Braille would stand up, is, I think at least, it's illegal to tamper with money, including putting things on it. I know people do it, putting pictures or sayings or their own stamp on it, but I'd be a little uneasy brailing my money.

Kathy Hagen BlindLaw listserv

**18. I never thought about Braille on money & have all too often given a $20.00 when the purchase was maybe under $5.00. I have never been cheated & I am thankful for that.
First, this short story taught me to do like instructed, try to not use any larger bill then I have to. Thus I will need to have a couple $10.00 & $5.00 bills in my billfold.
Next, my main thought & praise goes to those standing in line. Too many
people do not want to get involved so they say nothing! How fortunate
that this time there were several in line willing to speak out! Nor do I feel they were speaking out because "some poor blind guy" was the victim!
I think those who spoke up did it just because it was the right thing to do!
We do need more of this kind.


**19. Very interesting. This provoker supports my experiences, as well as my fears. I usually, let me emphases, usually, remember the sequence of my money bills. However, if I'm in doubt, I will turn to someone behind or beside me, a disinterested party and ask them if this is ten or a five.
Then I proceed with handing the cashier money, then ask them to place the currency in my hand first, asking them to count my change back with currency handed back to me. Other times, I will say I just handed you a $100.00 bill or a $20.00 bill and the casher will usually correct me by saying the correct amount of currency and hand me the correct change.
However, I do require the cashier to count my change to me with each denomination. That is very important. It is also very, very, important not to trust people so blindly, no pun intended. Another test for good currency is to fold the currency in half and rub the two halves together and feel the smooth sides, and reverse the currency fold to the other half and rub the two sides together and you will feel a roughness of the two sides. This will detect real currency from play money. Just be sure of what is going on at the time of purchasing or anything else. One more thing, you will experience getting burn some time, just take it with a grain of salt, only keep it to a minimum. Folding the currency is also a good idea. I believe you can trust your banker all the time. But not blindly though, no pun intended, ha, ha, ha, ha.

Jack e. Mindrup

**20. (This in answer to response #2) That is but one of the reasons I have online banking.

Darla Blind-X listserv

**21. Figuring out money is not all that complicated most of the time. Can you Braille bills, I thought that would be tampering with money. It would be nice in a perfect world, but there are some tried and true ways to fold money. tens folded oblong, fives folded small and twenties folded not that small and ones folded flat. But this is not always done by us. I just last Sunday, tired after going to our NFB state convention came home and went to mass. I put a ten in the collection. I was in the cab going home and I showed the driver what I thought was a ten. We sorted out several ones and I found that lonely ten dollar bill. I told others and they said The church must a have appreciated you. Usually I do not make those mistakes. If a newly blinded person can learn that low tech way of identifying money it is a help. But I hear of a Braille device that can mark your money and of course there is the not so low tech way of identifying your money by a money identifier. Half the time mine says don't know. I use it but do plan to get a more accurate one. Just some thoughts about money.

friend ship and peace Karen NFBtalk listserv

**22. I usually use ones and fives, even for convention money. That way I can put them in separate envelopes, labeled in Braille, so that even if someone got hold of one envelope they wouldn't have all of my money. Then I have fives and ones for all the little goodies that are for sale at conventions. I use fives and ones for cab trips, too; less likely to be tricked. Putting Braille on the money wouldn't hold up for long and might be a form of marking the bills that might even be illegal; don't know about that one.

I know one person who just memorizes his bills, putting them in a certain order in his billfold. I fold my bills differently so that I know for sure what I have.


Lauren Merryfield Washington USA

**23. What an interesting and well-written story! I found that it caught my attention. It seems that Ellie's Rehab teacher handled Ellie's concerns just right. I agree that we must trust others when receiving change, but must be aware of what is going on. I had a similar situation happen to me when I started college. I gave a twenty-dollar bill, but the clerk said that it was a ten. It just so happens that I had sighted friends with me, who saw that it was a twenty. Whether the clerk had just made a mistake or was trying to make some extra money, I don't know, but it did work out. As far as I know, it hasn't happened again. Actually, situations like that can happen to sighted people too. Personally, I choose to trust others. I'd hate to go through life mistrusting everybody.

As was mentioned to Ellie, I've developed a system to keep my paper money organized. I fold it, just like the teacher, but I know people who either don't have anything larger than ones and others who keep the bills in various pockets or compartments of the purse. A counseling client of mine, told me that she would only have one dollar bills and she relied on credit cards most of the time.

The situation with the attempted theft, near the end of the story, could have happened to anyone, especially if the victim wasn't aware. How many times are people charged the wrong amount and they don't catch the error till much later? It behooves us, whether blind or sighted, to be organized and pay attention.

Doug Hall, Florida, (

**24. Although I love the little "gottcha" at the end of this Thought Provoker, it will never happen to me. The thought of sitting there Brailing my paper money is almost frightening.
As rehabilitation teachers, working with older blind and visually impaired folks, Cathy and I run into few people who know Braille, or are able to learn enough to be able to accurately Braille their money.
We basically teach money handling in the same manner you outlined. Folding bills and placing them together in wallet or purse. We find that it is hard for older folks to stand their ground at a cashiers station, with a long line behind them, and have the clerk help them sort out their bills so they can fold them before putting the money away. Since this is the place where people are least likely to be cheated we strongly encourage it. But understanding how timid some folks are, we also suggest that they talk to some trusted friend or relative and set a time when they can get together and help sort out the money.
People with limited vision might still be able to use a strong magnifier at home to sort out their bills. If they are fortunate enough to own a CCTV, this will also work for identifying money.
In such cases where folks do not sort their money at the time they received it, we suggest that they make certain that they place the unidentified money in a separate pocket, and not try using it for future purchases until it has been properly sorted.
Regarding coins, we do work with folks in identifying them tactually.
Quarters and dimes have rippled edges. Nickels and pennies are smooth.
Quarters are larger than nickels and pennies are larger than dimes. We do suggest that people sort the pennies into a separate pocket in their coin purse. But we explain that if they will keep a jar of assorted change by their chair, they can practice while watching TV or listening to a Talking Book. By running the coins through their fingers over and over they will become able to quickly tell them apart.
A final thought for young rehabilitation teachers. Our goal is to assist folks in becoming as independent as possible. Still, from time to time you might run into a situation where you will have reason to identify money for your client. Never, never take a clients money into your hands in order to count it. The two major reasons are:
1. You do not want to take control of any part of your clients efforts to become self reliant. Taking over may be quicker at the moment, but it derails your efforts in the long haul.
2. If at any time there is a question regarding your clients money, you will have placed yourself in an awkward position.

Carl Jarvis ACB-L listserv

**25. This is how I try to handle my money, and when I do this, it works. When I get money from a bank, or from an ATM, I get all $5.00 bills. This keeps everybody honest and also, no hard feelings.

Jo Otts ACB-L listserv

**26. This one is interesting for several reasons.
First of all, the people involved are humble enough to actually admit that they need a little help, and they ask for it! This is quite refreshing, especially
when compared to that young whippersnapper in the airport, who was almost too proud to use a wheelchair to make her flight.
Once that is settled, and the currency is properly identified, how can it be identified? I must admit, I had never thought of using a slate and stylus
to "mark" money. But after considering the idea, I would recommend against it. I've seen people use these things. They are designed to use with standard
3 by 5 file cards. The cards are much thicker and more stiff than "paper" money (which is actually made with some cotton fibers). Therefore, Braille on
paper money would probably be too mushy to read anyway. You might test it on a 1 dollar bill, but I doubt it would work. Even if it did, the bill would
be useless in vending machines, which tend to be very picky about "mutilated" bills.
Now, as for the cashier. THIS is a tough one, and there are three possibilities for the error:
1) It is often said that convenience stores tend to be staffed by poorly-trained kids who either barely graduated High School, got G E Ds, or dropped out;
and, in any case, are mathematically deficient. (This is a crisis worthy of its own "Thought Provoker" website!)
2) On the other hand, the cashier may be overworked. Anybody can make a mistake when they're tired. But the cashier still needs to catch his breath, count
to 10, and settle this as gently as possible.
3) Worst-case scenario: The cashier might actually be dishonest, as well as being so blatant about it that he would actually dare to try a stunt like this
in broad daylight, in full view of customers, co-workers AND security cameras, AND on a blind person at that!
A serious red flag is, to put it VERY bluntly, the naivete of the older people in the story. Maybe "back in the day," people had more fear of God and
more love of their neighbor, so that nobody, not even the hardest criminal, would dare rob a blind person. But I'll tell you what: I wouldn't put it past
anyone today! I mean, for crying out loud, there's been some talk on the lists about a blind college student who had his customized laptop stolen from
right under his nose! And how about these scam artists who would rob the elderly of their pension checks? It happens a lot, nowadays.
I'm not saying the cashier is guilty of defrauding the old lady; BUT! if he is, it wouldn't surprise me one bit.
But I will say this: If I ever see anyone knowingly and willingly robbing a blind person, it will be the last mistake he ever makes!

David Lafleche

**27. Really; that is totally insulting and to think this country can't manage to make currency accessible; guess that shows even more where the blind fall in the food chain.

Darla J. Rogers Blind-X

**28. Oh, let me add this to the responses.
Several of your readers were concerned about "mutilating" their currency. They need not worry about that. It was a different story back when paper money
was in "gold," or when it was "silver certificates." In those days, if I remember my history correctly, paper money was marked with a warning: "DO NOT
SPINDLE, FOLD, OR MUTILATE." Men actually used things called "billfolds" (not "wallets"), which were designed to keep paper money as straight and flat
as possible. Money was kept meticulously neat, by Federal mandate.
Nowadays? Forget it! "Federal Reserve Notes" (no gold or silver backing) are a dime a dozen...literally, that's what they're worth! You can do whatever
you want with them: mark it up in Braille, fold it any which way, even make paper airplanes out of them! (They'll go a lot farther that way.) So you needn't
worry about "mutilating" a Federal Reserve Note. It's like taking your toupee to a barber shop!

David Lafleche

**29. Damn is this messed up!!! It's messed up in that I've had that happen to me a couple times. There wasn't a hustle and bustle about it, though.

The first time was when I was riding Metro Mobility,, which is a transportation company for those who are unable to ride the regular city bus or subway for one reason or another. I rode Metro Mobility because the buses didn't go near or past where I was working. Some of the Metro Mobility vehicles were vans for wheelchairs while others were regular taxi cabs. Anyway, I was sitting behind the driver when he asked me for the money. When I put the two single dollar bills and two dimes in his hand, I felt one of the dimes slip between his fingers and hit his seat belt buckle.
Upon seeing the one dime in his hand, he insisted that I had short-changed him and that I must pay an extra dime before he would take me home. I pointed down to where the dime lay on the seat and told him that I felt the dime slip between his fingers. Still, he insisted that the dime never slipped between his fingers and that the dime was from a previous passenger.
Again, I told him that I felt the dime slip between his fingers.
Begrudgingly, he gave in, but made sure that I knew that if this happened again, he would not take me. Filing a complaint with Metro Mobility was no point because all other complaints I had filed previously on other drivers were left unresolved.

Another time was when I took the cab from a bus stop to my ex-boyfriend's house. My boyfriend and I had already separately called the cab company that I was going to ride with about what the expected fare would be for that short distance. I had been riding with that company numerous times when this next incident took place. Upon arriving to my ex-boyfriend's house from the nearby bus stop, the driver told me that I had to pay over five dollars. I told the driver that I had already called his company and was told that it would only be $3.75. Of course, the driver proceeded to argue with me until my ex-boyfriend came out to see what was going on. I guess it was his imposing stature that made the driver back down. Never mind that my ex-boyfriend was blind.

What I'm saying in the above narratives is that such hassles as the one in the store don't just happen over the bill domination that was supposedly given or should have been given. It also can happen when you pay the exact amount or have ridden with that company numerous times with no problems with suddenly a problem at that point in time. In most cases, I don't have problems with clerks short-changing me, but that doesn't mean that the thought of them short-changing me one day hasn't crossed my mind. I always carry some cash along with my bank credit card. If I'm working with a clerk I know very well or John is with me, then I pay in cash. On the other hand, if I'm working with a clerk I'm not sure about or John isn't with me, then I use my credit card. It is not to say, of course, that I don't run the risk of being over-charged because an item was accidentally or purposefully run through the scanner more than once because I do run that risk.
In a case like that, I keep track of how much each item is that I put in my basket or cart, keep track of what items I bought were sale items and the stipulations of the sale (buy one get one free, three for five dollars, etc.), total my purchase up before I get to the counter, and then let the clerk scan the items. If the total amount is much higher than what I estimated with tax included, then I ask the clerk how it was scanned--whether it was according to the sale price, etc. That's when they realize that they had forgotten to include the sale price or scan the coupon through. I also have John read my receipts as we unpack the bags to make sure that no items were forgotten or over-charged. If there is an item that was over-charged, then he highlights it with yellow marker and then I proceed to the store to get my money back.

Before John came into my life, I had to go by pure blind faith that I wasn't getting ripped off. I think that it takes allot of guts to do that, especially if you cannot see. However, being ripped off is not just a blindness thing. It also happens to sighted people. Such was the case with someone I knew who put a ten-dollar bill in the city bus collection box instead of a one-dollar bill. Whether you are blind or sighted, you'll catch some of the times when you're being ripped off while there will be other times when you won't know that you've been ripped off.


**30. Nice one. This topic has come up a lot since I moved into this apartment. Like a lot of visually-impaired people, I fold my money differently. I keep one-dollar
bills straight, fives are folded in half widthwise, tens are folded in half once lengthwise, and twenties are folded once widthwise and once lengthwise.
I keep these in different compartments of my wallet. A life-skills tutor who had been working with me had the very good suggestion of labeling each compartment
in Braille using my Braille label maker, so she and I did that. I now use both these methods of bill identification and it works every time. I used to
be terrible about folding my bills and keeping them organized, but now I am getting better about it. I have never had a problem telling change apart. I
just run my fingers around the edges and feel for the ridges. If the ridges are present, I know that the coin I am holding is either a dime or a quarter.
I can also identify coins by size and width. There is one big problem though, that desperately needs a solution. That is, bills need to have some tactile
marking on them, be that Braille symbols or otherwise. Of course, this wouldn't work for those who can't read Braille. The solution to that might have
to come in the form of talking bills or bills with some other form of audio cue. I've never owned a talking money identifier, but I saw one once and I've
heard others demonstrated and I know they are pretty expensive. The only way we as visually-impaired people are ever to be totally independent with our
currency is if organizations like the NFB stop trying to detain Congressional bills which would make all money identifiable either by touch, sound, or
both. To add a bit of humor to the equation, I once heard a blind friend say that he smells his money to tell it apart.

Jake Joehl,

**31. Cute! And a good way to identify it, at least temporarily. Have I seen this story before? It sounds familiar.

Lori Stayer New York

…FROM ME: I do have a longer version of this story in the short story section. I thought it was about time to write something on money identification and didn’t think I needed to reinvent the wheel on it and so took the existing story and cut it down.

**32. I never thought about Braille on money & have all too often given a $20.00 when the purchase was maybe under $5.00. I have never been cheated & I am thankful for that.

First, this short story taught me to do like instructed, try to not use any larger bill then I have to. Thus I will need to have a couple $10.00 & $5.00 bills in my billfold.

Next, my main thought & praise goes to those standing in line. Too many people do not want to get involved so they say nothing! How fortunate that this time there were several in line willing to speak out! Nor do I feel they were speaking out because "some poor blind guy" was the victim!
I think those who spoke up did it just because it was the right thing to do!
We do need more of this kind.


**33. For years, there has been discussion about doing something to make paper money easily identifiable,...Braille on the bills, different sizes, different shapes, etc. In all the years I've been spending money, I can't remember a time when the wrong paper money was given to me. I had one occasion, when the Susan B. Anthony dollar coins were popular, that I was given a dollar instead of a quarter, and I didn't know it until later. But, this was given as change by a fully sighted sales clerk. But, when I receive my bills, I do ask the clerk to identify what I have, loudly enough for others to hear and see. So, it's not really an issue for me. I don't have a money identifier and have done very well, all these years, without one.

Cindy Handel Willow Street, PA

**34. Well that is very clever!
I surely was not expecting this outcome. However, I didn't know that you could Braille on paper money, I thought that interfering with money like that was against the law? Guess that it isn't.

At any rate--What this man suggests about not having large bills to pay for a small thing like a candy bar is very good advise. If you buy something that is only a few dollars and give the person a ten and they do cheat you you'll only be out a few bucks, while this is annoying, I'd rather be cheated out of a few dollars than ten or more if, say I gave a 20.

Thankfully though I pay for a majority of my things with my visa check card. Clears up that whole change problem quite nicely! But if I am, say, in Denver and taking the bus or train someplace I will make sure to get a roll of quarters so that I can do up the bus change. I can't think of any other time recently that I've needed out right cash money.
But having said this, I still do have methods of folding the paper money so that when I do have it I know what is what.

Jenny and Fleming the Flamboyant Golden Retriever!
Olathe, Kansas USA

**35. Robert you said Most people are honest That's not true!
I learned that's wishful thinking when I first became legally blind When it comes to money most will smugly cheat those with vision problems from tellers to homemakers One must not trust. I had am accountant try to swindle me a homemaker put away milk stained glasses as if they'd been washed. My company commented on the dirty glasses I had set out for them at lunch time Then I learned checks I had signed to pay utility bills had been cashed instead of used to pay bills.
No, do not blindly trust any one but yourself and your God whom ever She may be.

Diane Victoria BC Canada

**36. some day we all will be using a smart card of some kind and then the problem of money ID will be solved for the blind. The world is slow in change. And with the slowness of change, we the blind will still need to learn to adjust to our blindness by learning blindness skills and working on our emotional adjustment too. Blindness in human’s will be with us for some time to come; this is also saying that some day blindness will be gone.

Mark Bearringoff UK

**37. Throughout my almost 49 years of life I have yet to be taken advantage of when it comes to spending money. There have, of course, been mistakes, but that's all they've ever been. The mistakes have even occasionally been in my favor, and, whenever I've noticed it, I've returned the money and the clerks have been very thankful.

That being said, we'd be fools to think that there are no dishonest clerks. As honest as most of them appear to be, there'll always be some who insist on destroying the good reputation of the majority. The solution, to me, is very simple for those who choose to worry about it, which should be all of us for a large purchase.

Use a bank card and ask for a receipt. Firstly, when a bank card is used there's no money for the clerk to pocket as the money goes directly into the store's bank account. Secondly, the fact that the clerk is giving you a receipt will discourage him/her from trying to do anything amiss. Thirdly, we can have the receipt checked by a sighted person later for verification so this approach even works for those without online banking access. Fourthly, a printed receipt is extremely good evidence which the employer will accept if anything wrong was indeed done.

This, by the way, is exactly what I even ask my sighted younger children to do when I ask them to go to the store to get something. I have an extra bank card which has access to one of my accounts. They carry the card, and no money, so no one is ever tempted to steal from them, and they bring home receipts so no clerk is ever tempted to over-charge them. Another step I often take, just as an extra preventative measure, is to use telephone banking to put just enough money into that account to cover the purchase. This, too, is a measure which a blind person can use to ensure that he/she can't be over-charged.

While I personally recommend always using electronic cash, there may well be times when a large amount of cash must be obtained from a bank. If you're ever worried at all that a teller may be tempted to short change you then a very simple solution is to politely request that another teller witness the transaction. This, in fact, is exactly what the banks themselves do when processing the cash within a bank machine, i.e. two tellers must always be together when this is done.

Back to stores for a moment: There's an error which clerks do make from time to time which does result in accidental over-charging. It's when the previous customer had decided not to buy whatever he brought to the counter, and the clerk neglected to clear that transaction from the register. In this case, the clerk will honestly tell you the excessive amount which is on the register. If a clerk ever tells you an amount which seems too high then very gently and politely question it, but by no means say anything nasty or even consider that he's trying to rip you off. Allow the clerk to discover his mistake and make the correction. He'll learn for the next time, and, as well, will appreciate your understanding.

Dave Mielke 2213 Fox Crescent
Phone: 1-613-726-0014 | Ottawa, Ontario
Email: | Canada K2A 1H7

Please contact me if you're concerned about Hell. |

**38. Resp. 24's comment about never putting the client's money into your hands and then counting the money back to the client reminded me of an incident many years ago. I was at the doctor's office when the clerk behind the counter asked me for my insurance card. Since I have so many cards, I have a Braille label on each card so that I know which one is which. As I proceeded to thumb through to find the correct card, the clerk reached out and started putting her fingers into my wallet while offering to get it out for me. Feeling like my privacy was being violated, I slapped her hand, telling her that I appreciate the help but that her hands did not belong in my wallet. Then I asked her, "how would you like it if I reached into your wallet without your permission?" At that, she quickly pulled her hand away and did not say anymore. I found the card within seconds, but the way in which she offered to help was totally uncalled for. Now, if she had offered assistance without first trying to reach into my wallet, she and I would have been on better terms. I still would not have let her reach into my wallet, though.
As for brailing on money, one of my classmates at one of the guide-dog schools I attended a few years back had a money labeler that embossed the numbers in print instead of Braille. She had been using this technique for quite awhile by then, but she never mentioned having trouble with banks or cashiers telling her that it was legal or illegal to label her money. The idea of labeling the money sounds nice, but I often do not have time while standing in line. Even once I get home, I want to move onto other things that have to get done; thus why I fold my money at that moment the cashier or bank teller is counting it out into my hands.
Other respondents mentioned handling convention money or money exchanges from one blind person to another. This reminds me of when I was helping raise money for the NFB years ago. Whenever I accumulated a lot of dollar bills from donations and sales, I would always turn the many bills in for twenty-dollar bills. The rest of the money that could not be changed over to the equal denomination amounts, I folded in the ways I fold my own money.
Sure, my way may not be the bookkeeper's way, but at least they knew right off the bat that there were different kinds of bills in the envelope instead of just one kind of bill.
By the way, thanks for the idea of how to fold a fifty-dollar bill, should I get one. I can now fold it into a paper airplane .


**39. I have only been shortchanged a couple of times. In most cases, if you ask the clerk to count the money out, it will be harder for them to short change you. Dishonesty is sometimes a problem for sighted people as well because they don't have time to stand in line and check to see if what they were handed is what they were due. They rush off just like we do, not wanting to hold up the line or other patrons. If there is a sighted person on the list who has had this experience, I would be interested to hear how you handled it.

Nancy Coffman Lincoln, Nebraska

**40. Here is one further thought. I use plastic to the greatest extent possible.
I can then review all of my purchases, etc. on the computer and at least argue the payment if necessary. A little trick: When using plastic, ask the vendor to tell you the total, then write that amount above your signature and circle it. Gives you one hell of an argument later.

James Theall, Longmont, Colorado

**41. Thank goodness most people are honest. I went into CVS the other day, handed the clerk a bill and said "out of $20. She said "you mean out of $50," which
really surprised me as I rarely if ever carry anything larger than a $20. I had a job for a short time as a companion to an elderly person, until she got
into a facility, and her daughter paid me in cash, usually $20s, and apparently she forgot to tell me that she had put in two $50 bills. Wasn't I lucky
that this woman passed up a golden opportunity to make around $30?

Sue Tillett Princeton, NJ

**42. As of now, I use a change purse with 2 compartments. I put my ones and change in the smaller section and all other bills in the larger one. My fives I fold in half the short way, my tens I fold in thirds the short way and my twenties I fold in quarters the short way.
The 5, then the 10 then the 20 all in size. I hardly ever carry anything over a twenty.
If I do, most likely it would be in a bank envelope.
I still have enough sight to read bills, with a strain, but it is slow.
Try to remember how much money you are carrying. When being given change, make sure they tell you each bill and fold it correctly on the spot.
Being independent is our goal!

Terry Powers NFBtalk listserv

**43. About two weeks ago, I was in Radio Shack, buying a Chanukah for john. As I was handing my money to her, she told me about a young blind boy she was
teaching many years ago about money denominations and folding bills in different ways. Then, she proceeded to tell me about how the uS Federal government
was talking about punching holes or making other kinds of markings on the different bill denominations. I told her that such a discussion had been going
around for, what seems like, eons, and that I would believe it when I saw it. I further went on to tell her that, in the meantime, I would continue folding
my bills in the way I'd grown accustomed to. We just laughed. Besides, even when bills are cut or punched differently, I would still be in the habit
of folding until I learned how the new money system worked and could keep it all straight .
on the flip-side, a week ago, John and I were in a cafe. Upon paying for our food, the clerk told us the price. I gave the cashier my twenty-dollar
bill and two pennies since the total was $10.62. even though I had clearly told the clerk that I was giving him $20.02 as I placed the money in his hand,
he typed into the register that I gave him $22.02. thus, he ended up giving me more change than he was supposed to. Upon telling him that he didn't give
me the right amount of change, he went to get his boss, claiming that I was being a difficult customer. Boy did his boss learn different. Not only did
his boss see the error after my explaining what happened, but his boss saw me counting out only what I was supposed to get back and handing the leftover
money back over to the clerk and the boss. So, while the clerk may have believed that people of color are untrustworthy (he was bigoted), he sure had
John and I way off in left field. Most people that I've met, regardless of color, would have knowingly taken that extra money and sat down to eat. Instead,
I was upfront and honest because I put myself in that cashier's shoes. it comes back to treating people in the way you would want to be treated.


**44. HMMM! I had never thought about throwing my money in a slate and applying a little Braille. Might have to try that.

One observation I would make is that blind people aren't the only ones that occasionally run into a dishonest clerk. I also had an instance where the "big bill blooper" was MINE!

I was in an airport and traveling with several other blind people. I usually request little assistance and in many cases, directions are plenty. At my destination, I am usually very content to make conversation with fellow travelers on my way to the baggage claim, so when someone assisted us and was gracious about it, I felt obligated to tip.

This honest person had said "Wow! That is an awfully big tip! I figured that since I was blind, the $5 I had just handed her was considered a big tip. OOPS! I got to dinner and learned that my $5 had been a $20 that I had not carefully folded. I have since been more careful.

Nancy Coffman Lincoln, NE