Free Money

While I was taking a shower, Bill poked his head into the bathroom to announce that Mom had left something for me in the office.  I dried off and scurried quickly into our bedroom to get dressed and pull my hair into a ponytail before I went to my desk to discover what mysteries lay in store for me.

It was a full page advertisement pulled from the morning paper that proclaimed in a big bold headline, “Phoenix area zip codes turn up cash for residents.”  The page contained large pictures of money in varying poses: piles of bills being transported on carts with armed guards standing by, a close up of an uncut sheet of one dollar bills, and stacks of money posed in front of tasteful display binders with an accompanying certificate of authenticity.

The instructions, buried within the many tightly spaced paragraphs of the pretend news-like copy stated that if your zip code appeared in the Zip Code Distribution List (which took up the bottom quarter of the page within a box entitled “How to get the money“) then all you had to do was be one of the first 6,049 callers to get an uncut sheet of four one dollar bills at face value.  But you had to call RIGHT NOW!

I took the ad back out to Mom in the living room and asked, “So, you wanted me to see this… because?”

“Because our zip code is in that list,” she said.

“Yes, and so is every other zip code in the state,” I said.

“But if you call, you’ll get free money,” she argued.

“No you won’t.  You’ll get four one dollar bills for $4.00 plus shipping and handling.  It’s an ad to sell dollar bills because the government might stop printing singles and start issuing coins.”

“Well I don’t think it’s an ad since they’re selling dollars for what they’re worth.  How would they make any money?”

“By overcharging for shipping and handling.  Plus it says right here along the top, that this is an ad,” I continued, holding up the page so she could see top edge that proclaimed:


“Maybe you should call any way, just to be sure,” she said, trying to end the conversation by turning her attention back to Kelly Ripa and her male host-dejour.

“Mom, I’m not wasting my time calling them.  It’s a gimmick and I’m not buying into it and neither should you.  If you want to pay for money, I’ll sell you some ones for a dollar each and save you the shipping and handling costs!”

Oh, well, alright then,” she huffed.  “I just thought maybe I could get some free money, but if you don’t want to call, then fine!”

“If you think it’s legitimate, why don’t you call?” I asked, wadding up the ad and squeezing it with enough force to return it to its hardwood origins.

“Because it’s probably a scam,” she conceded grudgingly as she picked up her electronic poker game as a additional barrier to any further discussion.




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