Most Wal-Marts no longer cash random money orders, mostly because of fraud concerns. My store in particular once had a supervisor approve cashing two $1500 money orders which turned out to be fake. You figure she would have notice that they had the EXACT same serial number and the paper came straight out of a printer ... but no.
The only money orders we cash are MoneyGram receives, because those come out of the machine, I get the customer to sign it and then put the money order under my till. IT IS NOT COUNTERFEIT BECAUSE IT NEVER LEFT MY SIGHT!
For whatever reason, customers tend to get VERY upset when they realize that they can't cash any old money order at Wal-Mart -- and these past few days I saw some of the most maltreated pieces of paper I've ever seen in my life.
It has been my experience that two types of people use money orders -- those who can't get a bank account -- and those who won't.
It is the types that won't get a bank account (probably because they are the total "live off the grid" types) that cause me the most headaches.
This granola granny came up to me Saturday and wanted to cash a money order. You know the type. Brown work pants, environmentally friendly recycled-tire sandals, T-shirt from some enviro-lefty-politico-shaman-love-fest, hair that seriously needed a good washing, rumpled recycled Army camo backpack, no makeup and saggy boobs down to her belly button.
Buddha bless granola grannies -- and all the save the Earth types -- but the "I'm a defender of the planet so you should worship me" entitlement attitude wears thin.
She's got a $13 money order that for whatever reason she didn't use and says "I want to cash this."
ME: "Ma'am, we do not cash money orders. I'm sorry. You can cash it at a post office or deposit it into your bank account."
HER: "Why not."
ME: "It is because of fraud concerns."
HER: "Why can't you cash mine? It's good."
ME: "Ma'am. We do not cash money orders. Any money orders."
HER: "Well what am I supposed to do with this?"
ME: "Ma'am, you can deposit it into your bank account. Or cash it somewhere else."
HER: "Can I pay for some stuff with it?"
ME: "No ma'am. That's the same as cashing it. We do not accept money orders as payment."
HER: "That's not fair."
ME: "Ma'am, I'm sorry I can't help you."
HER: "So you're telling me you won't cash this, even though it is good?"
ME: "Ma'am, I can't cash it for you. You're going to have to go to a bank or a post office."
HER: "I don't want to go to a bank. I don't have a bank account. And they always charge fees. And so you're telling me that basically I'm going to lose $13 right here?"
ME: "Ma'am, I can't cash it for you. If you need that money, you're going to have to go somewhere that will cash it."
HER: "I just lost $13 because you won't help me. Thanks for nothing."
And she stomps off and leaves.
I hope she gets a paper cut from freaking thing.