After a nearly 2-month hiatus, I went to my local Walmart on Saturday and was reminded of the importance of practicing good manufactured spending etiquette. I don’t always do it right – but I try to follow the rules. If they want me to fill out paperwork, I do it. If there’s a daily limit on buying money orders, I don’t try to circumvent it. I’m in this for the long haul, so I don’t want to run afoul all the different authority figures I have to deal with in order to continue churning gift cards. We’re all polluting the river to some degree, but some of us are casual litterers and others are BP – they recklessly unload barrels of oil into pristine waters, ruining it for everyone.
When I was standing in line to buy money orders, the cashier was helping someone. She made a few remarks to me about “a new process” because “this guy ruined it for everyone.” That caught my attention. When I made it to the front of the line, she explained that a long-term MS’er had effectively been banned after he began showing up twice a day to buy money orders. He would walk in every morning and then again in the evening, following a shift change. Every time, he bought $10,000 worth of money orders. He also filled out the required paperwork each time…with incorrect information.
Needless to say, that was reckless in more ways than one. For starters, the information provided on the form is entered into a computer. Filling it out twice is a surefire way to get on Asset Protection’s radar. Providing invalid information? That can get you into more serious trouble than getting banned from a store.
The cashier had worked both shifts and remembered the guy in question had been there in the morning. She told him he could only buy $10,000 worth of money orders per day and his response was, “I thought it was $10,000 per visit”. This prompted her to review his paperwork and it turns out he had entered an invalid social security number on all his forms. That’s dangerous territory because Walmart is legally required to report all money order purchases over $3,000. She reported him and he’s been banned from the store. But going forward, this Walmart location will require those who purchase $3,000 worth of money orders to present their social security cards.
Most people don’t carry their social security cards around on a daily basis, so I imagine this is going to make some people uncomfortable. Everyone at this store knows me and I’ve been buying money orders there for years. Because they trust me, I’m exempt from presenting my social security card. Or maybe the staff has my SSN memorized from seeing it so many times. Regardless, I want to highlight this as an example of how one person’s irresponsible behavior can make things more difficult for people who follow the rules. Moral of the story: Follow the rules and don’t lie on your paperwork. The long-term consequences are not worth it.