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  • Writer's pictureThe Lemon Chuck

Ahoy, Bait-y!

Want to know a surefire way to ruin $450,000 CASH? I'm talking about rendering it entirely useless for circulation and needing to send it to the federal bank to be burned. Curious? I thought so...

If you've been around for my other banking stories, you'll be somewhat familiar with the dye pack or bait money- if not, no worries, I'll brief you on that now. At that time, dye packs resembled regular bundles of cash: but they would heat up to high temperatures, which triggered a smoking mechanism. That smoke would dye the money and anything it came into contact with. Some baits were known to get so hot they'd reportedly burned through vehicle floors. Handling them was a bit daunting at times because though there were systems in place to keep them from activating in the branch, other things on the premises could disrupt that signal meaning they could be set off in our possession.

I had a day off, and an inexperienced teller covered for me. Hey, we've all been there, and we all have to learn. The ramifications don't generally end in the destruction of hundreds of thousands of dollars- but this branch liked to keep things interesting, so it was perfectly on par with the usual madness. Nobody even knew anything was amiss until the following morning. As luck would have it, it would be the morning that I returned to work.

A few coworkers and I gathered around our cash shipment receptacle. We opened the door and were struck with the putrid smell of sulphur. Yes, this place was frequently comparable to hell, but now it literally reeked of brimstone. The irony, eh?

What in the ever-living-fuck was going on? The depository was dark, and combined with that awful stench, none of us were too keen to reach in and find the cause. My immediate guess was an angry patron. I figured we held someone's cheque for a few days, and they didn't take kindly to it and decided to drop a stink bomb into the night deposit bin. A part of me found that level of petty kind of funny, so I was surprised when we finally realized what had happened...

The night before, the person covering for me accidentally shipped out one of the dye packs. How in the hell it got missed is beyond me, but here we were. A note was stuck to the annihilated bag of money from the angry armoured vehicle men who picked up the cash. You see, the dye pack didn't explode in the bank. It exploded in the armoured car.

I imagine this like a scene from a Tim Burton Batman movie. The back of an armoured vehicle filled with cash: was laden with thick, red smoke. Everything is coated in a red dye: including the men who open the back doors- they're greeted by a putrid, dense, red cloud. An immediate onset of nausea, confusion and fury as they are consumed by the stench of rotten eggs and the mess of the dye. Seriously. Think about that for a moment- the plethora of things that must have run through their mind. Was this going to be an ambush? Was it deliberate? An accident? I can't fully comprehend the chaos these men felt at that moment.

I'm just going to let you sit with that for a sec.

It wasn't just our cash shipment obliterated. Several cash shipments were wrecked, resulting in an astounding amount of money that was now out of circulation. Though I can't remember what the note read, I can remember those men were PISSED, and, you could see they had furiously scribbled on whatever scrap paper they had and attached it to the bag- the melted, dyed, stinky bag of moola.

The odour was so overwhelming it immediately gave me a brutal migraine: I'm talking about throwing up, couldn't see straight, and feeling like I was going to pass out kind of pain. My supervisor and I- were tasked with dealing with this mess- which involved re-counting and re-bagging the cash and doing a different type of shipment as this money now needed to be incinerated. It dyed everything it came into contact with- so we dressed in garbage bags and found medical gloves to handle the mess. Fun fact: there were strict policies on what type of cash should be in circulation, and it was up to the banks to help filter that cash-out. Seriously, it's wild some of the things they deemed made a bank note unissuable. (creases, corner folds [even slight], just to name a couple) Much of that cash was so saturated in dye that it was nearly impossible to tell what the notes were. It took us hours to get through it all, and it didn't help that I was vomiting my way through it.

Several days went by before that stench left the building. I wouldn't have blamed anyone for thinking Satan himself had crop-dusted this god-forsaken branch. We were all seemingly doomed to work in Beelzebub's butthole for over a week. Whatever trouble we were in with head office didn't compare to how genuinely awful it was to be in that branch for several days after the incident. I will say the only silver lining was the people who tended to lollygag didn't spend an extra moment other than what was absolutely necessary in that branch. Lines moved faster and traffic slowed down as word spread that the place smelled like a rancid fart. On that note: a customer thought that they would use the opportunity to let one go, but failed to account for the turbulent trumpeting that would accompany it. I wish I was joking.

So that, my friends, is how you destroy $450,000 in cash. Probably a lot of brain cells too. There's no way that smoke is good for you.

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