Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Uncut $2 Bills Cost 6 Times Their Face Value

It's the holiday shopping season, which means it's time for a new offer from the World Reserve Monetary Exchange and the Universal Media Syndicate. This time it's uncut sheets of $2 bills, available for only 48 hours to people who live within a limited set of zip codes. No pressure!

Today's Star Tribune carried the ad. This offer is not a good deal because each sheet of currency (which comes in a plastic folder the ad calls a "bankers portfolio") sells for $48, when the face value of the currency is only $8. That price is six times the face value of the currency. Six times. Plus shipping!

Full page Universal Media Syndicate ad for World Reserve Monetary Exchange uncut $2 bill ad
The ad spouts all the usual misleading hyperbole about the value of these sheets:

  • People who buy them "will feel like they just won the lottery."
  • "..those who get in on this now will be the really smart ones. Just think what they could be worth someday!"
  • "VALUABLE... It's impossible to predict how much the bills will be worth in the future."
  • "Rare uncut sheets of real Gov't issued currency have sold at prestigious auction houses for thousands of dollars."
Ah yes, rare uncut sheets are worth a lot -- but these sheets are not rare at all. It's impossible to predict how much (or how little) the sheets will be worth in the future.

And, to balance their hyperbolic statements, the UMS copy writers are always careful to include a single instance of this caveat: "Currency values always fluctuate, and there are never any guarantees."

"But," the ad continues right after the caveat, "at just forty-eight dollars the full uncut sheet and bankers portfolio is a real steal..." I would agree it's a steal, but in my opinion the people who buy aren't the ones taking advantage of the steal -- it's the World Reserve and its parent company Arthur Middleton Capital Holding who are getting the "real steal" from their customers.

More stupidity in the ad's text:
  • "You would expect to only see uncut money sheets on display in the Oval Office or under guard at the Smithsonian." Who makes up this puffery?
  • "...they are so seldom seen, banks don't even have them." Well, duh. Banks have no need for uncut sheets of money, since they're in the business of circulating currency.
It appears there's a minimum order of three, which as a group the ad calls a "Vault Stack." I would argue that the full-width photo at top, showing large stacks of uncut bills, is meant to imply that this type of "stack" is what the buyer would be purchasing, rather than three sheets stuck into plastic folders.

Close up of the WRME ad's photo, full width on the page, showing armed guards moving stacks of money on carts
The ad makes a point of saying that the government stopped printing $2 bills in 2006, hoping to emphasize the scarcity/scare appeal of the offer. That's probably because there's not a lot of demand for $2 bills in circulating money. However, as of last fall, the Bureau of Engraving was selling these same uncut sheets on its ecommerce site for $2.815 per $2 bill, or $11.26 per sheet of eight. That's a whole lot less than $48 per sheet -- about 75 percent less.

How long would it take for the WRME $2 bills to even reach the value they're charging for them? Who knows, but it seems to me it won't be any time soon, if ever.

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If you want to complain to the Strib about carrying this ad, their main number is 612-673-4000 and their feedback form to the advertising department can be found here.

________

Past posts about the World Reserve Monetary Exchange:

October 6, 2009 - Sheets of Money -- Cheapest and Uncut. Since I wrote this post, which describes uncut sheets for sale on the official Bureau of Engraving ecommerce site, the Bureau has stopped selling sheets of $2s, $5s and $10and is only selling $1s and $20s. This does not mean there is a shortage overall of other denominations or that they are necessarily worth more than they otherwise would be. They're just not available right now.

August 30, 2009 - World Reserve Monetary Exchange Exploits Ted Kennedy

Other past posts about WRME's sister companies, all part of Arthur Middleton Capital Holdings and advertised by the Universal Media Syndicate:

June 17, 2010 - Mira-Cool -- Repackaged Cool Surge?

February 20, 2010 - Apatrim -- Scam or Science?

June 12, 2009 - Overpriced CompTek Laptops from Universal Media Syndicate

May 20, 2009 - Cool Surge -- Another Scam from Canton, Ohio

March 25, 2009 - Call the Papers When You See the Ads

January 21, 2009 - Obama Mania -- at a Price

January 10, 2009 - Universal Media Syndicate -- Half-Truths, Puffery and Outright Lies

December 6, 2008 - Universal Health Card Scam, Update 2

November 21, 2008 - Update on the Universal Health Card Scam

November 19, 2008 - Universal Health Card -- Money for Nothing (The post that started it all)

1 comment:

KLM said...

I really think they market this crap strictly to old people and alarmists. The first group still remembers the hard times of the war and think that having something that will grow in value will ward off fiscal doom (these oldsters also probably buy a lot of those states quarters collectors' packs offered by the Franklin Mint). The latter group is prone to believing that society is perpetually on the brink of collapse. These were the same folks who hoarded bottled water and ammunition in preparation for Y2K.

Alas, this is America. Where the fine line between marketing and exploiting is razor thin.