Lost. Found. Lost Again. Perhaps.

August 01, 2008

Earlier this week, Sibylle and I took a box full of used books to the Half Price bookstore we frequent.  Between the two of us we have lots and lots of books, some that we no longer want.  Recycling them through the bookstore allows us to clean away some of the clutter, and gives the books a second chance.

The appraiser was thorough enough to discover an old money order tucked away in one of the books.  A $50 money order from July 2003.  Examining the check revealed no time limit on cashing it, which makes sense in a way.  After all, the sender put $50 down on the counter, plus a small fee to buy it.

The fine print on the back of the money order said there would be a 35 cent charged, per month from the original purchase date, if the check wasn't cashed in the first year.  Since it has been 60 months, that fee now amounts to $21.

On my way home from work yesterday I stopped at my credit union.  The teller there had to speak with her supervisor about the check, before telling me that they couldn't cash it.  It seems that the issuing back isn't part of the Federal Reserve system, and therefore my credit union isn't guaranteed payment.  That, and the question of the 35 cent fee, eliminated the credit union.  The teller did suggest that Walmart was the source of many money orders, so I went to Walmart next.

The "Money Place" at our local Walmart also wanted nothing to do with the check.  Primarily due to fact that it isn't a Walmart issued money order.  And that it is five years old.  Their suggestion was a check cashing location.   You know, one of those places with the gaudy flashing sign about "CASH CASH CASH!"  I'm sure they'll want a fee on top of the 35 cent per month fee.

I am reluctant to go to one of those check cashing locations; they seem like the corner loan shark somehow.  But I am also determined to get at least some of the $50 back.  That some third-rate (not even Federally insured) financial institution may get to keep $50 from a woman living who was living on less than $800 a month, just bothers me.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.