Best tips when handling money
Don't use a cash box
It is too easy to steal. Instead, wear a money belt/fanny pack or carpenter's 3 pocket apron on you at all times.
If you do use a cash box - make sure it's lockable and not transparent
Don't use a transparent plastic cash box because people can see the money inside and may be tempted. Make sure you keep it locked at all times.
If you do use a lockable and not transparent cash box - secure it to a table
Attach it to the leg of the table with a strong cord or chain. It won't stop someone grabbing and running off with it but it will sure slow them down dragging the table behind them. It may make them think twice about trying it in the first place.
Don't accept personal checks unless you know the person very well
Even then, it may be less embarrassing if the check bounces later to just not accept checks at all.
Watch out for counterfeit bills
Get familiar with how various bills (especially $20) look and feel. When a bill is handed to you, quickly check the security features, color and quality of the printing. If possible, discretely compare the size of the bill with another similar one. Consider buying one or two types of counterfeit detector pens to check the paper used or for counterfeit ink printed on washed or bleached $1, $5, or $10 bills.
Be suspicious if someone tries to buy something for $10 with a $100 bill! Why do they only have $100 bills at a garage sale? Same applies with $50's too. If someone tries to use a $100 or $50 bill for a small purchase, politely say "Sorry, this is a garage sale, not a bank. I won't have enough change left for other customers."
While there have been reports of counterfeit bills being used in garage sales, busy and dark locations with constantly moving traffic, like bars and restaurants, are more popular targets though.
You can find more information at these sites:
- wikiHow: Detect counterfeit US money
- Business Know How: Counterfeit Money: How to Spot Fake Bills
- US Secret Service: Know Your Money poster
Avoid 'confusion' when handling money (1)
When someone hands you a bill to make a purchase, leave the bill out in view (may be under something heavy to stop it blowing away) until you've given them their change. This will help clear up any 'confusion' when they claim they gave you a larger bill.
Avoid 'confusion' when handling money (2)
Another strategy is put it in an empty front pocket of your money apron. After you have given their change and they have left, you can safely take it out and put it in another pocket with the other bills. This way, even if they are half way down your drive when they come back to 'query' the change you gave them, you can put your hand in the apron pocket and show them the bill and that there aren't any other bills in there either. It isn't perfect as it's still their word against yours but the fact that it's the only bill in the pocket weakens their argument.
Avoid 'confusion' when handling money (3)
When accepting the payment, always say aloud the details of the transaction.
"OK the price was $6 and you have given me $10 so I owe you $4?".
When giving the change, always count out the money so you both can see it's the correct change.
Don't collect a large wad of bills or large bills
Only keep the minimum amount on you. When you start to accumulate too much, discreetly go inside or have your helper go inside and hide the money.
Speaking of money aprons...
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