Funny stories about money?
July 28, 2006 7:44 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for funny stories about money, both funny "ha-ha" and funny "strange". These can be news stories, fictional stories, video clips, or whatever. It's best if these are available online in some fashion — actual URLs are a bonus. Anything funny/odd about shopping, saving, bank robberies, currency, rich people, poor people — I want it. Anything funny about money at all. Even funny money jokes!

This is all in service of tomorrow's Blogathon 2006, organized by our very own frykitty. Dobbs will be wrestling the blogathon to the fucking ground. I'll be writing about funny money. Sponsor us! Help us raise money for charity.
posted by jdroth to Grab Bag (36 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Here's an example. In the old film Life with Father, there's a scene where father tells Mother to take something back to the store. She does so, but then she does something else foolish with the money. When he calls her on this, she has some confusing explanation about how by returning the items, she actually had double the money. It's hilarious. I'd love to find this clip online.
posted by jdroth at 7:55 AM on July 28, 2006

Most people have heard of Patrick Combs story (cashed a junk mail cheque, the bank didn't realize its error until the cash was legally his).
posted by Meagan at 7:58 AM on July 28, 2006 has a section of money-related Urban Legends titled "Funny Money". All of their articles have sources, many of which are online - I am sure you can find some real gems in there.
posted by tastybrains at 8:07 AM on July 28, 2006

The story of how Michael Larson became the champion of the game show of Press Your Luck is interesting, but the postscript about how he lost his $110,000 winnings is even more interesting.

"CBS found no reason Michael Larson could be denied his winnings, and they were paid to him. Part of his winnings were invested in real estate in his hometown and the rest was withdrawn from the bank as cash. Larson believed in a "get rich quick" scheme that involved matching a serial number against a radio game show that promised a $30,000 jackpot. In a sign of eccentricity or irrationality, Larson withdrew his winnings in one dollar bills in hopes of winning the contest.

Approximately USD$40,000-50,000 in the remaining cash was stolen from Larson and his then-common-law wife. Larson was divorced soon after."
posted by kimdog at 8:15 AM on July 28, 2006

There's always the "Funny Money" karaoke video done by two young Korean girls [video SFW some banner ads maybe not so SFW].
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 8:17 AM on July 28, 2006

Good FOR you, I mean ...

...oh, and how couldI forget to mention our own growabrain's delighful site - his section on money and finance would be an excellent source.
posted by madamjujujive at 8:25 AM on July 28, 2006

Don't forget J.S.G. Boggs, who draws his own (non-counterfeit) bills and convinces store owners to accept them in lieu of money.
posted by hangashore at 8:48 AM on July 28, 2006

This American Life, the NPR show, has done several episodes with money themes. A few can be found here, here, here, and here.
posted by chickletworks at 9:08 AM on July 28, 2006

The Monty Python Money Song is here.
posted by KRS at 9:11 AM on July 28, 2006

I wish this was fiction...
posted by radioamy at 9:17 AM on July 28, 2006

My coin collector uncle told me this one...

You hear that the US mint workers are going on strike?

They are demanding to make less money!

(there are no GOOD money/coin jokes sadly)
posted by Captain_Science at 9:33 AM on July 28, 2006

There's Mark Twain's short story, The £1,000,000 Bank-Note
posted by Clay201 at 9:37 AM on July 28, 2006

This is weird.
posted by ed\26h at 9:43 AM on July 28, 2006

In 2001, a guy in Danville, Ky bought a sundae at Dairy Queen and paid with a fake $200 dollar bill featuring Dubya's likeness and received the appropriate change. When the DQ manager discovered the bill he called the police, who said that the bill was so unrealistic that it didn't even count as counterfeiting. I couldn't find the original story, but it is referenced (along with some other amusing counterfeiting stories) here.
posted by jtfowl0 at 9:48 AM on July 28, 2006

An interesting request. As I often write about my family life I wondered if that had ever come up and it did. A little funny story as my children start to understand the value of money.

Feel free to use (or not).
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 9:55 AM on July 28, 2006

Here's a self-link about one time when I inadvertantly fucked over some fundraising she-devil. It is possibly funny, or perhaps it's just irritating. YOU MAKE THE CALL!
posted by Skot at 10:01 AM on July 28, 2006

There's also the story/metaphor about Germans in the Weimar republic coming across a wheelbarrow full of money, dumping the money and taking the wheelbarrow.

I also heard a story, which is probably an urban legend, about a guy back in the 90s or so who managed to trade in a Deutsch mark from the Weimar republic at the current exchange rates, getting thousands of dollars for it. It sticks in my head that this happened in Traverse City.
posted by dagnyscott at 10:27 AM on July 28, 2006

My favourite is the saga of trying to spend and american $2. Mostly because I aquired one in Canada without even knowing they are rare and have amazed at least a few Americans with the existence of such a bill.
posted by Mitheral at 10:44 AM on July 28, 2006

I see Snopes has already been posted here, but this story sprang immediately to mind when I saw the question. That page also links here, which is a treasure trove of similar anecdotes.
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:51 AM on July 28, 2006

Among the Snopes articles, and contrary to jtfowl0's $200 bill story, is the guy who was arrested at Taco Bell for trying to pay with a real $2 bill.
posted by whatzit at 10:52 AM on July 28, 2006

Apparently the event made an impression on a lot of other people too. Geez.
posted by whatzit at 10:52 AM on July 28, 2006

"Other People's Money"
posted by grumblebee at 11:04 AM on July 28, 2006

Mitheral: "My favourite is the saga of trying to spend and american $2. Mostly because I aquired one in Canada without even knowing they are rare and have amazed at least a few Americans with the existence of such a bill."

The Avon in Providence, RI requested $2 bills from the bank so they could give them as change for $8 tickets. I thought this was awesome, of course, so was disappointed when they hiked the ticket price to $8.50 but was pleasantly surprised to recieve a dollar and a 50 cent piece as change.

Sadly, The Avon raised the ticket price again, to $9 — now you have to bring a date to get a $2.
posted by rafter at 11:16 AM on July 28, 2006

A couple of years ago, around the time the Euro was introduced, there was a story about a guy who had stashed thousands of dollars only to return later and discover that, because Euro notes apparently contain some cotton, mice had eaten most of his fortune. Sorry to say I don't remember many details, but you might be able to dig it up with Google. I think it was in Germany.

(This might be a lead. Maybe it wasn't Germany...)
posted by cribcage at 11:37 AM on July 28, 2006

What about this guy, who sold all his possessions for $135,000, went to Vegas and bet it all on a single spin of the roulette wheel?
posted by GregW at 11:50 AM on July 28, 2006

This is pretty amusing; making fun of the physical appearance of some of the stranger currencies of the world:
Curious Lucre by Lileks
posted by Rubber Soul at 2:13 PM on July 28, 2006

I like the story of Milo, a la Catch-22, who goes to great lengths to buy things cheap and sell them cheaper, yet somehow makes a profit.
posted by hopeless romantique at 2:16 PM on July 28, 2006

Also in Rhode Island, where I believe 2-dollar bills are not as unfamiliar as they are in other places: This guy. In the seventies, I worked in a market in Narragansett. Love 22 would often pay using 2-dollar bills folded so that 2's were side-by-side, making a '22.' He now prints his own 22-dollar bills.
posted by wryly at 3:27 PM on July 28, 2006

When I worked for Ames (an off-price retailer in Ohio), I once got a check for $38,000+. I can't remember the exact amount, but I have a copy somewhere. Anyway, since that was for a 2-week period, it was - erm, slightly higher than my regular salary.

I briefly entertained dreams of running away to Mexico, then I just turned it in. There were no thanks forthcoming from the company, monetary or otherwise.

Ames went bankrupt in 2002. Bwa ha ha!
posted by Liosliath at 1:04 AM on July 29, 2006

Not really funny but more interesting: I recall reading in Stephen Ambrose's D-Day how the US had wanted to print up (I think it was) 10-franc notes so that US soldiers would have some local cash when they hit France. France didn't like the idea of the US counterfeiting their money and said so, but the US did it anyway. (I think I am remembering this correctly) Anyway, just an interesting historical tidbit of a country conterfeiting an allies currency.
posted by blueberry at 1:56 AM on July 29, 2006

Also I believe when the 2-Euro coin first came out, it was the same general size and weight as the Thai 10-baht coin (worth about 25 cents US) so people were loading vending machines with them and making out like bandits.
posted by blueberry at 2:01 AM on July 29, 2006

Whatzit: the guy who got arrested wasn't the guy at the Taco Bell; read it again...
posted by baylink at 2:29 PM on July 29, 2006

Response by poster: You guys saved my ass. Thanks so much for posting these ideas. I'm not done yet (still six hours to go), but I made it throgh most of the Blogathon, tapping in here now and then for ideas.

Right now I mostly want to sleep...
posted by jdroth at 12:30 AM on July 30, 2006

awesome job, jdroth - excellent work! very entertaining posts, and it was fun to be a wee part of your effort.
posted by madamjujujive at 9:14 PM on July 30, 2006

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