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Thread: Best Buy Customer Arrested For Paying For His Purchase With $2 Bills

  1. #1
    RZ Chamber of Commerce Unassisted's Avatar
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    Best Buy Customer Arrested For Paying For His Purchase With $2 Bills

    http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/loc...cal-columnists
    (You can get a login for this article from bugmenot.com.)

    A tale of customer service, justice and currency as funny as a $2 bill

    Michael Olesker




    March 8, 2005

    PUT YOURSELF in Mike Bolesta's place. On the morning of Feb. 20, he buys a new radio-CD player for his 17-year-old son Christopher's car. He pays the $114 installation charge with 57 crisp new $2 bills, which, when last observed, were still considered legitimate currency in the United States proper. The $2 bills are Bolesta's idea of payment, and his little comic protest, too. For this, Bolesta, Baltimore County resident, innocent citizen, owner of Capital City Student Tours, finds himself under arrest.

    Finds himself, in front of a store full of customers at the Best Buy on York Road in Lutherville, locked into handcuffs and leg irons.

    Finds himself transported to the Baltimore County lockup in Cockeysville, where he's handcuffed to a pole for three hours while the U.S. Secret Service is called into the case.

    Have a nice day, Mike.

    "Humiliating," the 57-year old Bolesta was saying now. "I am 6 feet 5 inches tall, and I felt like 8 inches high. To be handcuffed, to have all those people looking on, to be cuffed to a pole -- and to know you haven't done anything wrong. And me, with a brother, Joe, who spent 33 years on the city police force. It was humiliating."

    What we have here, besides humiliation, is a sense of caution resulting in screw-ups all around.

    "When I bought the stereo player," Bolesta explains, "the technician said it'd fit perfectly into my son's dashboard. But it didn't. So they called back and said they had another model that would fit perfectly, and it was cheaper. We got a $67 refund, which was fine. As long as it fit, that's all.

    "So we go back and pay for it, and they tell us to go around front with our receipt and pick up the difference in the cost. I ask about installation charges. They said, 'No installation charge, because of the mix-up. Our mistake, no charge.' Swell.

    "But then, the next day, I get a call at home. They're telling me, 'If you don't come in and pay the installation fee, we're calling the police.' Jeez, where did we go from them admitting a mistake to suddenly calling the police? So I say, 'Fine, I'll be in tomorrow.' But, overnight, I'm starting to steam a little. It's not the money -- it's the threat. So I thought, I'll count out a few $2 bills."

    He has lots and lots of them.

    With his Capital City Student Tours, he arranges class trips for school kids around the country traveling to large East Coast cities, including Baltimore. He's been doing this for the last 18 years. He makes all the arrangements: hotels, meals, entertainment. And it's part of his schtick that, when Bolesta hands out meal money to students, he does it in $2 bills, which he picks up from his regular bank, Sun Trust.

    "The kids don't see that many $2 bills, so they think this is the greatest thing in the world," Bolesta says. "They don't want to spend 'em. They want to save 'em. I've been doing this since I started the company. So I'm thinking, 'I'll stage my little comic protest. I'll pay the $114 with $2 bills.'"

    At Best Buy, they may have perceived the protest -- but did not sense the comic aspect of 57 $2 bills.

    "I'm just here to pay the bill," Bolesta says he told a cashier. "She looked at the $2 bills and told me, 'I don't have to take these if I don't want to.' I said, 'If you don't, I'm leaving. I've tried to pay my bill twice. You don't want these bills, you can sue me.' So she took the money. Like she's doing me a favor."

    He remembers the cashier marking each bill with a pen. Then other store personnel began to gather, a few of them asking, "Are these real?"

    "Of course they are," Bolesta said. "They're legal tender."

    A Best Buy manager refused comment last week. But, according to a Baltimore County police arrest report, suspicions were roused when an employee noticed some smearing of ink. So the cops were called in. One officer noticed the bills ran in sequential order.

    "I told them, 'I'm a tour operator. I've got thousands of these bills. I get them from my bank. You got a problem, call the bank,'" Bolesta says. "I'm sitting there in a chair. The store's full of people watching this. All of a sudden, he's standing me up and handcuffing me behind my back, telling me, 'We have to do this until we get it straightened out.'

    "Meanwhile, everybody's looking at me. I've lived here 18 years. I'm hoping my kids don't walk in and see this. And I'm saying, 'I can't believe you're doing this. I'm paying with legal American money.'"

    Bolesta was then taken to the county police lockup in Cockeysville, where he sat handcuffed to a pole and in leg irons while the Secret Service was called in.

    "At this point," he says, "I'm a mass murderer."

    Finally, Secret Service agent Leigh Turner arrived, examined the bills and said they were legitimate, adding, according to the police report, "Sometimes ink on money can smear."

    This will be important news to all concerned.

    For Baltimore County police, said spokesman Bill Toohey, "It's a sign that we're all a little nervous in the post-9/11 world."

    The other day, one of Bolesta's sons needed a few bucks. Bolesta pulled out his wallet and "whipped out a couple of $2 bills. But my son turned away. He said he doesn't want 'em any more."

    He's seen where such money can lead.
    /r/reds

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    Dunnilicious creek14's Avatar
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    Re: Best Buy Customer Arrested For Paying For His Purchase With $2 Bills

    I haven't shopped at a Best Buy since 1996 when they tried the old bait and switch with me.
    Will trade this space for a #1 starter.

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    RZ Chamber of Commerce Unassisted's Avatar
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    Re: Best Buy Customer Arrested For Paying For His Purchase With $2 Bills

    Quote Originally Posted by creek14
    I haven't shopped at a Best Buy since 1996 when they tried the old bait and switch with me.
    I buy appliances there, because I've never found 'em cheaper anywhere else. I've got better sources for everything else they sell, though.
    /r/reds

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    The wino and I know bucksfan's Avatar
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    Re: Best Buy Customer Arrested For Paying For His Purchase With $2 Bills

    That is ridiculous. I am not in favor of frivolous lawsuits, but this guy should get a whiole buncha $2 bills coming his way IMO.
    "I'm virtually free to do whatever I want, but I try to remember so is everybody else..." - Todd Snider

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    Re: Best Buy Customer Arrested For Paying For His Purchase With $2 Bills

    I guess he should have used pennies.

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    Smells Like Teen Spirit jmcclain19's Avatar
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    Re: Best Buy Customer Arrested For Paying For His Purchase With $2 Bills

    When I bought my Ipod, the clueless salesperson told me, as I bought it, that extra parts were included with the kit that I was more than upset to get home and find out weren't apart of the kit.

    I went back, told the dept manager about it, who apologized several times, and told me I needed part X to do what I wanted, and he gave me a discount. I got home, and part X was also incorrect. Lets just say I wrote a not so happy note about the incompetence of employees and managers and dropped it off w/ the Best Buy Manager. I've never heard back.

  8. #7
    For a Level Playing Field RedFanAlways1966's Avatar
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    Re: Best Buy Customer Arrested For Paying For His Purchase With $2 Bills

    For Baltimore County police, said spokesman Bill Toohey, "It's a sign that we're all a little nervous in the post-9/11 world."
    That's good... blame this on 9-11. BUNK! The Best Buy and the police there mishandled this whole thing. And they looked very ignorant in the way they handled it. My guess is that neither one knew that $2 bills existed.

    I hate frivilous lawsuits. But this is one case where I think this guy should own that Best Buy store and a few police cruisers when it is all said and done. Not quite sure if I believe he remained as cool & calm as he described. Regardless he has every right to run the store and the police through the ringer IMO.

    My guess... Best Buy hires people who seem to be nice (during the interview) and not on dope. They receive next to no training on the items that they sell. They are put on the showroom floor soon after being hired. After the first few times of going there, I learned this real quick. If not for the vast array of selection and the good prices, I wouldn't go there either. I have learned to know exactly what I want before going there.
    Small market fan... always hoping, but never expecting.

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    Member Reds4Life's Avatar
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    Re: Best Buy Customer Arrested For Paying For His Purchase With $2 Bills

    I buy games, CD's and DVD's from Best Buy, but I won't purchase anything expensive there. I tried that a few times and I had to turn down the extended warranty about 34 times before I was able to get out the door.
    Pessimists are well informed optimists

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    Member TeamCasey's Avatar
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    Re: Best Buy Customer Arrested For Paying For His Purchase With $2 Bills

    Quote Originally Posted by Reds4Life
    I buy games, CD's and DVD's from Best Buy, but I won't purchase anything expensive there. I tried that a few times and I had to turn down the extended warranty about 34 times before I was able to get out the door.
    Whenever a store offers to SELL me a warranty, I always ask them why they don't stand by the products they're selling.

    (One of my pet peeves.)
    Pots and Kettles

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    Member CTA513's Avatar
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    Re: Best Buy Customer Arrested For Paying For His Purchase With $2 Bills

    Quote Originally Posted by bucksfan
    That is ridiculous. I am not in favor of frivolous lawsuits, but this guy should get a whiole buncha $2 bills coming his way IMO.


    Id see about suing them if I was that guy.

    As for the Cashier that said "'I don't have to take these if I don't want to." she should be fired.

  12. #11
    The Lineups stink. KronoRed's Avatar
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    Re: Best Buy Customer Arrested For Paying For His Purchase With $2 Bills

    What's wrong with 2 dollar bills?
    Go Gators!

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    Hey Cubs Fans RFS62's Avatar
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    Re: Best Buy Customer Arrested For Paying For His Purchase With $2 Bills

    I've had several bad experiences with Best Buy. I wouldn't hit a dog in the ass with Best Buy.

    Circuit City gets my money.
    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
    ~ Mark Twain

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    Churlish Johnny Footstool's Avatar
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    Re: Best Buy Customer Arrested For Paying For His Purchase With $2 Bills

    For Baltimore County police, said spokesman Bill Toohey, "It's a sign that we're all a little nervous in the post-9/11 world."
    I agree with RFA66. This had nothing to do with "nervousness" and the "post-9/11 world." Did they think the $2 bills were made of explosives? Or honed to a razor-sharp edge?

    Sheer ignorance.
    "I prefer books and movies where the conflict isn't of the extreme cannibal apocalypse variety I guess." Redsfaithful

  15. #14
    RZ Chamber of Commerce Unassisted's Avatar
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    Re: Best Buy Customer Arrested For Paying For His Purchase With $2 Bills

    My late grandfather, who never met a superstition he didn't like, believed that $2 bills were bad luck. They certainly were for this guy.

    Quote Originally Posted by TeamCasey
    Whenever a store offers to SELL me a warranty, I always ask them why they don't stand by the products they're selling.

    (One of my pet peeves.)
    I've done that, too. Seems like salespeople are more ready for that question these days than they used to be. Most of the sales sharks I've encountered lately can respond to that without flinching or cracking a smile.
    Last edited by Unassisted; 04-07-2005 at 05:45 PM.
    /r/reds

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    Member ochre's Avatar
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    Re: Best Buy Customer Arrested For Paying For His Purchase With $2 Bills

    Bob Boone moved to the general vicinity of Baltimore...

    Just Sayin'
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