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Old 10-19-2017, 03:47 AM
McKrakhen McKrakhen is offline
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Was it unreasonable for me to carry that much cash in the wallet?

Hi,

First-time poster here, greetings to everyone.
I read on a different forum today a series of heart-warming stories about lost and found wallets, mobile phones, etc. in Japan.

My story is a little different. Last summer (August 2016) I visited the US for the very first time, as a tourist. I stayed mainly in New York, but one weekend we (my family and our hosts) took a trip to an outlet mall upstate, where I lost my wallet to never recover it again.

I made a purchase at a JC Penney's, where I paid with one of my debit cards, so I definitely had it at that time. After that, we split the group, and I wandered alone for maybe a couple of hours around the mall. When we got together again, I routinely checked my backpack, to discover my wallet was missing.

I went straight back to JC Penney, the wallet was not there. I also backtracked looking everywhere for it, and finally filed a lost item claim with the customer center at the mall. Called back there for 3 or 4 times during the next week, the wallet was never found.

I don't think my wallet was stolen (although I don't rule this out). I can't tell for sure if I put it in my pocket, or in the backpack. The backpack showed no evidence of being forced (no cuts, etc.) My theory is that I just lost it, and whoever found it saw that I had some 130 - 150$ in cash inside, took the money and threw away / destroyed the rest, to avoid identification. Luckily, my passport was not in the wallet, so I was able to return home without the hassle of visiting my country's embassy.

So, I'm wondering - is that amount of money tempting enough to someone to support my theory? How much cash do you routinely carry around in your wallet?
  #2  
Old 10-19-2017, 04:52 AM
Richard Pearse Richard Pearse is offline
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I routinely carry no cash when at home, but if I'm travelling overseas I'd have a few hundred dollars. $130-$150 is definitely enough for someone to be dishonest, in fact I think any amount is enough for someone to be dishonest for a variety of reasons.
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Old 10-19-2017, 04:59 AM
Lord Feldon Lord Feldon is offline
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Originally Posted by McKrakhen View Post
So, I'm wondering - is that amount of money tempting enough to someone to support my theory?
Definitely. Just the fact that it's money would be enough for some people.

Last edited by Lord Feldon; 10-19-2017 at 05:02 AM.
  #4  
Old 10-19-2017, 05:06 AM
Mr Shine Mr Shine is offline
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I would hand in a wallet bulging with 50 notes and woulsn't take a "taste", my sister would probably throw a wallet containing a 2 in the bin after taking the money. Everybody is somewhere on the continuum.
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Old 10-19-2017, 10:09 AM
enipla enipla is offline
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$130-150 not unreasonable at all for walking around money. And depending on the person, I suppose it's enough for them to be dishonest. But really, they could have taken the cash, and then just dropped it off at the nearest sales counter, or put it in a mail box.
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Old 10-19-2017, 10:13 AM
Johnny Bravo Johnny Bravo is offline
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The unreasonable part was keeping your wallet in your backpack. Might as well have a sign on your forehead that says "please steal my stuff."
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Old 10-19-2017, 10:56 AM
Thudlow Boink Thudlow Boink is offline
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No matter how much money is in a wallet, there are people who would turn it in with the money intact (or try to return it directly to the owner), there are people who would take the cash and turn in the wallet, and there are people who would keep the cash and keep or throw away the wallet. All of these are common enough to be unsurprising.

How could you have lost the wallet? Might you have laid it down somewhere and forgotten to pick it up again? Might it have fallen out of your pocket or your backpack without you noticing? If the answer to the second question is yes, then it's also possible that someone could have taken it out of your pocket or your backpack without you noticing. (And if the answer is no, how do you think you could have lost it?)

The unreasonable part IMHO was not carrying that much cash, but being careless about where your wallet was.
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Old 10-19-2017, 10:58 AM
xizor xizor is offline
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The one time I felt my wallet get lifted in a crowd, it actually got mailed back to me (minus the cash) in about 2 weeks. So there are thieves honorable enough to drop a lifted wallet into a mailbox instead of a trash bin. Not sure what the post office would do with an out-of-country wallet though.
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Old 10-19-2017, 11:53 AM
Machine Elf Machine Elf is offline
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How does "unreasonable" enter into this? The person at risk for loss/theft is the one making the decision about how to balance the amount of cash to put at risk versus the inconvenience of not having enough cash on hand to get through the day. Everybody gets to decide for themselves.

Me, I don't like visiting ATMs all the time, so when I do, I withdraw several hundred dollars, leave $100 in my wallet, and stash the rest at home. I mostly use my credit card, so $100 can last for weeks in my wallet; that's about as much as I'd care to put at risk for loss/theft.

I don't think the amount of cash in your wallet is a factor in the incentive/disincentive for theft. Someone who's jerk enough to steal cash out of a wallet they found isn't going to change their mind if there's only $10 in there instead of $100; either amount, they're going to pocket it and ditch the impoverished wallet.
  #10  
Old 10-19-2017, 12:58 PM
Snowboarder Bo Snowboarder Bo is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McKrakhen View Post
When we got together again, I routinely checked my backpack, to discover my wallet was missing.

I went straight back to JC Penney, the wallet was not there. I also backtracked looking everywhere for it, and finally filed a lost item claim with the customer center at the mall. Called back there for 3 or 4 times during the next week, the wallet was never found.

I don't think my wallet was stolen (although I don't rule this out). I can't tell for sure if I put it in my pocket, or in the backpack. The backpack showed no evidence of being forced (no cuts, etc.) My theory is that I just lost it, and whoever found it saw that I had some 130 - 150$ in cash inside, took the money and threw away / destroyed the rest, to avoid identification. Luckily, my passport was not in the wallet, so I was able to return home without the hassle of visiting my country's embassy.

So, I'm wondering - is that amount of money tempting enough to someone to support my theory? How much cash do you routinely carry around in your wallet?
Hmmmm....
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emo Phillips
I was walking down Fifth Avenue today and I found a wallet, and I was gonna keep it, rather than return it, but I thought: "Well, if I lost a hundred and fifty dollars, how would I feel?" And I realized I would want to be taught a lesson.
  #11  
Old 10-19-2017, 01:18 PM
McKrakhen McKrakhen is offline
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Originally Posted by Thudlow Boink View Post
How could you have lost the wallet?
The last photo image of it was in my left hand, while on my left arm I had the open backpack, hanging there, as I was about to put inside the clothes I had just bought. Did I put it in my pants pocket? Can't remember. Did I let it slip inside the backpack, along with the clothes? Most probably, but wouldn't bet on it. Did I let it slip outside the backpack? There's a slight chance, although I suppose I would have heard it falling on the floor.

Some ten minutes after I left the store I went to a restroom, where I sat down on the toilet. If I did put it in my pants pocket, it's possible it slipped quietly and I did not notice it as I was leaving the stall. I've had the mobile phone slip out this way several times, the thing is I never lost my phone. But then again, a phone, even slipping out of a pants pocket is not quiet when landing on a hard tile.
I went back to the restroom when I realised the loss, the stall was empty but also no trace of the wallet (this was a little more than one hour after my first visit there).

As for having it picked from my pocket, it was not crowdy that afternoon, and nobody bumped into me. Or I maybe have been the victim of a particularly skillfull pickpocket.

Quote:
being careless about where your wallet was.
This is actually what troubles me the most: the fact that I can't remember what I did with the wallet. To preserve my sanity, I chose to file it under "automatic gestures you don't remember performing", such as when you're not sure if you did lock the car doors, or the front door to the house.
  #12  
Old 10-19-2017, 01:20 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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Originally Posted by McKrakhen View Post
So, I'm wondering - is that amount of money tempting enough to someone to support my theory? How much cash do you routinely carry around in your wallet?
Oh, absolutely. Heck, I'd assume $10-$20 bucks is enough for many people to just take the cash and chuck the wallet. $130-$150 is not like finding a nickel in the street. That's real money.

I generally keep no cash in my wallet. Every so often I have some bills in it, but for the last, I dunno, decade or so I've kept it as bare as possible. I used to have a $100 bill tucked in somewhere for emergencies, but I've forgotten about doing that.

That amount of cash, though, is not what I would think is too unusual to routinely carry around. I could probably guess which of my friends keep that around and which don't, not based by their income, but based on their views of cash. It was not at all unreasonable for you to carry that much cash. "Unreasonable" to me, as a person who doesn't like to carry cash, would probably start at around $1000 or so.

As for pickpocketing, I would say it's rather unlikely that happened to you here in the US. It doesn't seem to be a skill/art that's much in practice these days, given easier and more direct ways of separating you from your cash, but I may be mistaken.

Last edited by pulykamell; 10-19-2017 at 01:23 PM.
  #13  
Old 10-19-2017, 01:26 PM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
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It's not that much money, I used to walk around with much more before there were ATMs all over the place. I wouldn't be surprised if someone found it and kept the cash, and everything else. I assume you contacted the credit card companies. Someone may still have the cards and ID not knowing what to do with them. I don't know what percentage of people would keep lost property of value, but it's high enough that people are surprised when such things are returned to them.
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Old 10-19-2017, 01:34 PM
McKrakhen McKrakhen is offline
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Originally Posted by Machine Elf View Post
How does "unreasonable" enter into this?
Maybe a poor choice of words from my part - what I meant was, if most people walk around with, say, $50 at most in cash, somebody who has three times that amount on him would become a target for theft. Heck, in Sweden, a bus driver did not accept $5 in cash for a bus fare, he insisted I use a card. I suspect *any* amount of cash on you makes you a target there.
  #15  
Old 10-19-2017, 01:42 PM
Filbert Filbert is offline
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Originally Posted by xizor View Post
The one time I felt my wallet get lifted in a crowd, it actually got mailed back to me (minus the cash) in about 2 weeks. So there are thieves honorable enough to drop a lifted wallet into a mailbox instead of a trash bin. Not sure what the post office would do with an out-of-country wallet though.
I would hazard a guess that the person who lifted the wallet and the person who mailed you an empty wallet were not the same person. Someone jerkish enough to pickpocket is probably not going to be too worried about littering.

You never do quite know though, a former housemate of my brother had her bag snatched out of her hand the same morning that she'd discovered her house had been burgled, yelled that at the thief in frustration, and he glanced back at her, dropped the bag and ran off.
  #16  
Old 10-19-2017, 02:08 PM
McKrakhen McKrakhen is offline
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I assume you contacted the credit card companies.
I actually called my bank's customer service to have the cards blocked, so they can't be used. Anyway, I had only debit cards, not credit, so nobody could have spent / cashed out from an ATM more than I had in my checking account at that time.

Is this what you meant? Or are you saying it would be worth to call Mastercard to check if somebody found the wallet and would like to know how can he/she send it back to me?
  #17  
Old 10-19-2017, 02:09 PM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
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Originally Posted by McKrakhen View Post
I actually called my bank's customer service to have the cards blocked, so they can't be used. Anyway, I had only debit cards, not credit, so nobody could have spent / cashed out from an ATM more than I had in my checking account at that time.

Is this what you meant? Or are you saying it would be worth to call Mastercard to check if somebody found the wallet and would like to know how can he/she send it back to me?
I don't know if they would contact you if it was found, or if they would let you know if someone tried to use it. But if you contact them you might find out.
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Old 10-19-2017, 02:16 PM
McKrakhen McKrakhen is offline
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Originally Posted by TriPolar View Post
I don't know if they would contact you if it was found, or if they would let you know if someone tried to use it. But if you contact them you might find out.
I see, thank you. I might as well do that, although it seems to me like a longshot. After all, it's been over 14 months since it happened.
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Old 10-19-2017, 02:29 PM
filmore filmore is offline
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One of the TV news shows did a segment where they left a child's wallet in a busy area with a small amount of money in it and filmed what people would do. The wallet was pink and had a cartoon character on it, so people could easily assume a child lost it. A surprising number of people just took the cash and left the wallet behind. I don't recall if anyone threw it away. Of course, some people turned it in as well.

I think your assumption is correct that someone found it, took the cash, and threw the wallet away to avoid getting caught.
  #20  
Old 10-19-2017, 02:33 PM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
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Originally Posted by McKrakhen View Post
I see, thank you. I might as well do that, although it seems to me like a longshot. After all, it's been over 14 months since it happened.
I kind of doubt you'd recover your wallet now. But you might find out that someone tried to use it, so at least you'll know that it didn't just end up in the trash or was never found. Not much consolation there though, it's as good as gone either way.
  #21  
Old 10-19-2017, 03:00 PM
Eyebrows 0f Doom Eyebrows 0f Doom is offline
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Originally Posted by filmore View Post
One of the TV news shows did a segment where they left a child's wallet in a busy area with a small amount of money in it and filmed what people would do. The wallet was pink and had a cartoon character on it, so people could easily assume a child lost it. A surprising number of people just took the cash and left the wallet behind. I don't recall if anyone threw it away. Of course, some people turned it in as well.

I think your assumption is correct that someone found it, took the cash, and threw the wallet away to avoid getting caught.
I'm curious about this scenario. If it was a child's wallet (children carry wallets?) then I would think it wouldn't have ID, credit cards, or any kind of identifying info. How then would someone be able to return it to the rightful owner?
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Old 10-19-2017, 03:11 PM
SmellMyWort SmellMyWort is offline
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Originally Posted by Eyebrows 0f Doom View Post
I'm curious about this scenario. If it was a child's wallet (children carry wallets?) then I would think it wouldn't have ID, credit cards, or any kind of identifying info. How then would someone be able to return it to the rightful owner?
They could "turn it in" just as the poster stated. I imagine if it were someplace like a mall there is an info desk or security area.
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Old 10-19-2017, 03:13 PM
filmore filmore is offline
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I'm curious about this scenario. If it was a child's wallet (children carry wallets?) then I would think it wouldn't have ID, credit cards, or any kind of identifying info. How then would someone be able to return it to the rightful owner?
I seem to recall that there was a card or something that had the child's name in it. But regardless, it was in a place like a train station that had a lost and found. All they had to do was take it to the desk.
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Old 10-19-2017, 03:20 PM
Tim R. Mortiss Tim R. Mortiss is offline
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In Chicago, the rule of thumb is to always carry enough cash so as not to piss off the mugger.
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Old 10-19-2017, 03:20 PM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
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I seem to recall that there was a card or something that had the child's name in it. But regardless, it was in a place like a train station that had a lost and found. All they had to do was take it to the desk.
In a similar but different situation, some TV magician/psychobabbler did a thing where he put a wallet on the sidewalk in a busy metro area, drew an obvious white circle around it, and no one stopped to pick it up. Since it was just a TV show I can't evaluate the validity of the 'experiment', but I think the circle would be a pretty big hint that someone could be watching and I wouldn't even touch the thing myself. I don't think I'd even bother pointing it out to a police officer if one was nearby.
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Old 10-19-2017, 05:56 PM
Machine Elf Machine Elf is offline
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Originally Posted by McKrakhen View Post
Maybe a poor choice of words from my part - what I meant was, if most people walk around with, say, $50 at most in cash, somebody who has three times that amount on him would become a target for theft.
I think we're talking about two different things:
  • In saying that I don't think the amount of cash matters, I'm considering the case where you have inadvertently lost your wallet, and someone else has found it. In this situation, the finder who chooses to keep the cash and discard the wallet bears almost zero risk of discovery (and has almost zero interest in being a good Samaritan), so you can kiss your wallet goodbye, regardless of how much cash might have been in it.
  • In saying that the amount of money in one's wallet may make a person a target for theft, I think maybe you are referring to a situation in which a potential thief observes how much cash you are carrying, and then makes a decision as to whether the potential prize is worth the risk of picking your pocket. I agree with this in theory, but I think in practice it's difficult for a potential thief to observe how much cash you have unless you're carelessly flashing it about during a transaction (e.g. standing out in the open while you sort your bills in order of value).

I suppose if you look like a tourist, and you're paying for something with a very large bill(s) (like a $100 bill for a $10 purchase), a thief might suspect you are carrying a lot of cash and be motivated to take a chance. Consider carrying your wallet in a zip-up pocket on the side or front of your pants (like the one seen, but not used, in this photo).
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Old 10-19-2017, 06:20 PM
Scougs Scougs is offline
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Learn from this for your future travels. The amount of money in your wallet did not make this happen.

I have a travel routine perfected over many years of travel. I have specific travel trousers - Craghoppers is a good place to start. These have secure, zipped pockets at the front. I have a specific, slimline, travel wallet. A small-medium amount of cash, one card. The rest of cash, cards and passport is in a breathable, flesh-coloured money belt in my underwear.

For any purchase, the wallet comes out the zipped pocket, and I do not leave the counter until it is securely zipped back where it should be.

This might sound excessive, but I travel on my own a lot, and would really, really rather avoid the disruption of theft of cards etc. Learn from the fact that you didn’t know where your wallet was, and the fact that it was in your backpack to begin with.
  #28  
Old 10-19-2017, 06:22 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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Originally Posted by Tim R. Mortiss View Post
In Chicago, the rule of thumb is to always carry enough cash so as not to piss off the mugger.
It is? Well, I'm fucked.
  #29  
Old 10-20-2017, 02:01 AM
McKrakhen McKrakhen is offline
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Originally Posted by Machine Elf View Post
a potential thief observes how much cash you are carrying
Yes, this is what I was thinking. I'm not that inconsiderate as to fan out my bills in public, or even count the money openly, so the more I think, the more it seems your first assumption makes sense. Most likely, I have been careless enough to lose the wallet, and whoever found it was too tempted to keep the cash and discard the rest.

By the way, losing all the ID's and papers I had in the wallet "cost" me more time than the cash. I live in an Eastern European country where bureaucracy is still well in place, it took me some 6 weeks to get the documents re-issued (national ID card, driver license, debit cards, etc.) For the life of me, I don't know what I was thinking when I left the car registration papers and insurance in the wallet. After all, I *flew* to the US, for God's sake.
  #30  
Old 10-21-2017, 10:13 AM
jtur88 jtur88 is offline
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When I lived in he US, I routinely carried a couple of hundred in cash in my jeans pocket. Don't recall ever spending more than $100 at once, though.

When I travel overseas, I carry about $3,000 in crisp Benjamins, they're easy to change at a good rate, even in the boondocks, and I always have a few smaller bills to change if I run low on money just before leaving the country. You can't always find an ATM, and even those often don't work.
  #31  
Old 10-22-2017, 03:27 AM
Alessan Alessan is offline
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Originally Posted by Mr Shine View Post
I would hand in a wallet bulging with 50 notes and woulsn't take a "taste", my sister would probably throw a wallet containing a 2 in the bin after taking the money. Everybody is somewhere on the continuum.
Personally, I'd much more likely take $2 than $200. $2 is a fine for being stupid enough to lose your wallet; $200, though is a fairly significant sum, and losing it can really hurt someone's finances. I wouldn't want that on my conscience.
  #32  
Old 10-23-2017, 03:38 PM
iamthewalrus(:3= iamthewalrus(:3= is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Machine Elf View Post
I don't think the amount of cash in your wallet is a factor in the incentive/disincentive for theft. Someone who's jerk enough to steal cash out of a wallet they found isn't going to change their mind if there's only $10 in there instead of $100; either amount, they're going to pocket it and ditch the impoverished wallet.
I agree with this reasoning. The amount of money in the wallet makes some difference, but not that much. There just aren't that many people who wouldn't steal $10 but would steal $100.

It would be interesting to see how much this varies. There was a Freakonomics episode a while ago about an experiment where money was "accidentally" delivered by post to people, and they measured how many people returned it. As I recall, the amount was either 5 Euro or 20, and the amount made very little difference in whether it was returned, although the page linked doesn't seem to have exact numbers.

I routinely carry a few hundred in my wallet. I balance the slightly increased risk of loss against not having to waste as much time going to the ATM regularly.

When traveling overseas, I keep a small amount of money and one credit card in a pocket and everything else in a zipped security pouch worn under my clothes, or in the hotel safe.
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  #33  
Old 10-24-2017, 03:54 PM
jnglmassiv jnglmassiv is online now
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Originally Posted by iamthewalrus(:3= View Post
I routinely carry a few hundred in my wallet. I balance the slightly increased risk of loss against not having to waste as much time going to the ATM regularly.
Same here. The only time I take less than $200 from an ATM machine (irritant intended) is if the machine has a lower maximum.
  #34  
Old 10-24-2017, 07:03 PM
Chetumal Chetumal is offline
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Originally Posted by McKrakhen View Post
Hi,

So, I'm wondering - is that amount of money tempting enough
But they'd have to steal it first to find out how much money was in it, right?
  #35  
Old 10-24-2017, 08:03 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iamthewalrus(:3= View Post
I routinely carry a few hundred in my wallet. I balance the slightly increased risk of loss against not having to waste as much time going to the ATM regularly.
I hardly ever carry any cash, and I find myself needing the ATM maybe once every couple of months? Last I remember was a stupid pizza place that was cash only for under $20. Otherwise, I find it rare to need cash for anything.
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