November 2008


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Archive for November 7th, 2008

Scrip for Strip

Posted in Life on November 7th, 2008

Since Da Roomie reminded me…

We were driving home Thursday and an ad came on the radio for the new dollar coins, and my first thought was “another?”

We’ve had a lot of designs for dollar coins just in my lifetime. From the old Eisenhower Dollars (‘cartwheels’ in casino slang) to the Susan B. Anthony Dollar, (“Carter Quarters” due to the devaluation of the dollar during Carter’s Presidency and the fact that they were almost the same size and weight of the regular quarter) all the way to the Sacagewea Dollar (Sackies).

Now, the Sackies were going to be important because the Mint was supposed to cease production of the $1 Bill when they released them as a long-term money saving scheme. Coins may cost more to initially produce, but their durability means you can keep them in circulation for 20 years instead of about 18 months for paper money. Which is cool, except for one thing:

It’s hard to tuck a dollar coin into a G-string.

So, what are the strip clubs supposed to do when they run out of $1 bills in circulation? I’d make my own scrip – funny money printed right there in the back room of the house and sold to the punters at face value for the sole purpose of tucking it between the buns of your favorite stripper.

It’s worked out pretty well for the casinos for the past century or so even if they are using chips instead of paper. On a psychological level, chips and scrip aren’t real money, so the player (or punter in this case) is more likely to be incautious with their money and spread it around more freely.

Of course, the really funny thing here is that the Mint is even bothering with new types of money. The government spends tons of money in an effort to make the money un-counterfeit-able, and everyone in the private sector is doing their damndest to build credit-card machines into everything. (Portland parking meters take plastic, for instance.) It seems to me the Gov could save billions by simply shutting down the mints and officially making credit and debit cards the only legal tender around.

Which would be a huge stroke of luck for the policing agencies, considering it would make it that much harder for thieves and lawbreakers to do their deals without leaving a paper trail. Drug dealers could be more easily traced because of the large amount of barterable goods they would have to turn to as a replacement for their voided cash.

For the history buffs, this brings us full-circle. Minted coins became popular because wealthy men weren’t able to carry their wealth easily. Coins gave way to paper money because it was cheaper to mint (no precious metals involved, early coins were always gold silver and copper) and easier to carry even larger sums. Precious coins were used as change, and eventually reformulated to be devoid of precious metals so that they in turn could replace the ever-more-expensive ‘smart’ bills that were harder and harder to counterfeit, leading to the nefarious returning to a precious exchange to hide the flow of money.

Just my 2 cents.