Where’s George?

I decided to sign up over at Where’s George, the currency tracking project which is one of the oldest residents of the internet.  Fifteen years in, I decided it was a pretty good hobby for me, because I could count every buck that passed through my hands.

In a magical sense, it’s important to use energy with intent, and counting every dollar definitely helps with intent.  To put it in the business vernacular, you can’t manage what you don’t measure.  Seeing the number of bills I enter into the WG? database is another tool to help keep me mindful and my money manageable.

Of course, that’s not the purpose of the site, not at all!  Where’s George? is a currency tracking project, so in time I will be able to see how the money I spend travels after I part company with it.  I’ve already had one “hit” on a bill that I put in the system, and it bodes will for that little bill:  it was picked up by a toll collector who goes out of his way to give the WG? bills in change to people with out-of-state license plates.  The dollar could be in for an exciting trip, and I hope it gets found again sometime.

NPR profiled Where’s George on the occasion of its fifteenth anniversary, and it spurred me to finally check the site out.  I’ve seen a few “wilds” over the years, but never went out of my way to enter one.  I didn’t know that you don’t need to sign up in order to update a bill’s history; that’s only necessary if you want to enter new bills into the database.  So I went whole hog, making a profile and buying a rubber stamp for about ten bucks.

Those rubber stamps are tricky, it turns out.  For the first couple of years, site owner Hank Eskin sold Where’s George stamps, but stopped doing so when it was suggested that he was advertising on US currency.  Good luck finding anything about rubber stamps, marking bills with the site’s name, or anything that hints as to how the project actually works.  That sort of info is available on other sites, of course, and you can buy a rubber stamp through any company that makes that sort of thing.  Try Google.

So when I have a few dollars and decide to enter them, it’s with dreamy enthusiasm about where those bills will end up next.  I don’t know if I’ll learn anything or actually improve myself, but not knowing is half the fun.

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