Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Daniel, the member of the housekeeping staff here at work that cleans our office, just came through on his morning rounds. He was all excited today – he had just come from cleaning the vault and the manager there let him hold $30,000 in cash. It was rather funny; he couldn’t stop grinning and laughing about it. I have never thought about money as bringing pleasure like that, just by being there in itself, I view it more as a vehicle to get other things. But then, I’ve never held a stack of cash like that either.

This led to a discussion about John Kenneth Galbraith, and his theories on money. Yes, the guy that empties our trash also reads Galbraith, and sticks his spare money into the stock market. But I guess his stock market picks aren’t that tremendous, as he is still here emptying our trash. Evidently JKG views money in a rather arbitrary fashion, while holding a stack of bills imparts more of a concrete feeling into the value of cash.

The woman that works with him could not stop laughing. All she talked about was the look on Daniel’s face as he held that money, and the way he was talking about it all morning. So here we had the two of them, Daniel talking and her laughing, providing us with our morning entertainment.

Working on computers, and not in the vault or teller cages, I have not had much of an opportunity to work with big stacks of cash. I see lots of money flowing by, but for some reason digits on a screen is not the same thing as a pile of greenbacks, at least until the US changes its currency and starts making some pretty colored money that is. Since Vegas has started going to paper chits in the slot machines, and the IRS requires withholding on big payouts, many of the big winners here are also not handling big piles of bills but just single form checks. It is nice to see that big pile of cash piled up in front of those poker winners, but in the end it all goes back to the vault, forms are filled out, and a check is cut for the correct amount. Perhaps there are some big time gamblers in Vegas that walk around with stacks of cash, but usually they are drug guys just trying to launder the small bills into something they can deposit or transfer to that account in the Cayman Islands.

So I don’t really know what I would feel if handed a thick wad of bills. I think I’d be more afraid of theft, and wondering how quickly I could get to the bank to change it back into little electronic symbols on the computer. Of course, if you work in one of the casino cages or counting rooms you're handling millions of dollars every day, and probably fairly used to dirty money.

No comments: