Taco Hell

Taco Hell

Date: Thu, 1 May 1997 11:55:43 -0400

by Peter Leppik

The following is a true story. It amused the hell out of me while it was happening. I hope it isn't one of those "had to be there" things.

On my way home from the second job I've taken for the extra holiday ca$h I need, I stopped at Taco Bell for a quick bite to eat. In my billfold is a $50 bill and a $2 bill. That is all of the cash I have on my person. I figure that with a $2 bill, I can get something to eat and not have to worry about people getting pissed at me.

ME: "Hi, I'd like one seven layer burrito please, to go." IT: "Is that it?" ME: "Yep." IT: "That'll be $1.04, eat here?" ME: "No, it's *to* *go*." [I hate effort duplication.]

At his point I open my billfold and hand him the $2 bill. He looks at it kind of funny and

IT: "Uh, hang on a sec, I'll be right back."

He goes to talk to his manager, who is still within earshot. The following conversation occurs between the two of them.

IT: "Hey, you ever see a $2 bill?" MG: "No. A what?" IT: "A $2 bill. This guy just gave it to me." MG: "Ask for something else, THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS A $2 BILL." IT: "Yeah, thought so."

He comes back to me and says

IT: "We don't take these. Do you have anything else?" ME: "Just this fifty. You don't take $2 bills? Why?" IT: "I don't know." ME: "See here where it says legal tender?" IT: "Yeah." ME: "So, shouldn't you take it?" IT: "Well, hang on a sec."

He goes back to his manager who is watching me like I'm going to shoplift, and

IT: "He says I have to take it." MG: "Doesn't he have anything else?" IT: "Yeah, a fifty. I'll get it and you can open the safe and get change." MG: "I'M NOT OPENING THE SAFE WITH HIM IN HERE." [my emphasis] IT: "What should I do?" MG: "Tell him to come back later when he has REAL money." IT: "I can't tell him that, you tell him." MG: "Just tell him." IT: "No way, this is weird, I'm going in back."

The manager approaches me and says

MG: "Sorry, we don't take big bills this time of night." [it was 8pm and this particular Taco Bell is in a well lighted indoor mall with 100 other stores.] ME: "Well, here's a two." MG: "We don't take *those* either." ME: "Why the hell not?" MG: "I think you *know* why." ME: "No really, tell me, why?" MG: "Please leave before I call mall security." ME: "Excuse me?" MG: "Please leave before I call mall security." ME: "What the hell for?" MG: "Please, sir." ME: "Uh, go ahead, call them." MG: "Would you please just leave?" ME: "No." MG: "Fine, have it your way then." ME: "No, that's Burger King, isn't it?"

At this point he BACKS away from me and calls mall security on the phone around the corner. I have two people STARING at me from the dining area, and I begin laughing out loud, just for effect. A few minutes later this 45 year oldish guy comes in and says [at the other end of counter, in a whisper]

SG: "Yeah, Mike, what's up?" MG: "This guy is trying to give me some [pause] funny money." SG: "Really? What?" MG: "Get this, a *two* dollar bill." SG: "Why would a guy fake a $2 bill?" [incredulous] MG: "I don't know? He's kinda weird. Says the only other thing he has is a fifty." SG: "So, the fifty's fake?" MG: "NO, the $2 is." SG: "Why would he fake a $2 bill?" MG: "I don't know. Can you talk to him, and get him out of here?" SG: "Yeah..."

Security guard walks over to me and says

SG: "Mike here tells me you have some fake bills you're trying to use." ME: "Uh, no." SG: "Lemme see 'em." ME: "Why?" SG: "Do you want me to get the cops in here?"

At this point I was ready to say, "SURE, PLEASE," but I wanted to eat, so I said

ME: "I'm just trying to buy a burrito and pay for it with this $2 bill."

I put the bill up near his face, and he flinches like I was taking a swing at him. He takes the bill, turns it over a few times in his hands, and says

SG: "Mike, what's wrong with this bill?" MG: "It's fake." SG: "It doesn't look fake to me." MG: "But it's a **$2** bill." SG: "Yeah?" MG: "Well, there's no such thing, is there?"

The security guard and I both looked at him like he was an idiot, and it dawned on the guy that he had no clue.

My burrito was free and he threw in a small drink and those cinnamon things, too. Makes me want to get a whole stack of $2 bills just to see what happens when I try to buy stuff. If I got the right group of people, I could probably end up in jail. At least you get free food.


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May 04, 2004