As of today, my "Your Bills" page reads as follows:
You have entered 47,101 Bills worth $87,631.
Bills with hits: 9,161
Total hits: 11,834
Hit rate: 19.45%.
George Score: 1,266.
You have 2 Bills with 6 hits.
You have 27 Bills with 5 hits.
You have 85 Bills with 4 hits.
You have 378 Bills with 3 hits.
You have 1,544 Bills with 2 hits.
You have 7,125 Bills with 1 hit.
Rank by George Score: 13
Rank by Bills Entered: 24
out of 10,825 current users with a George Score.
I have hits in 48 states (only missing South Dakota and Idaho), DC, 3 Canadian provinces (Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec), Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, UK, Germany, South Korea and Hungary.
How it all began
I always had a collection of old coins and lots of old foreign currency. One evening, I decided I'd try to find out how much those were worth. As those were the pre-google days, I did a search at Altavista for numismatic websites. Seeing as how it was Altavista, I got a lot of irrelevant matches back, one of which was Where's George!
Seeing this strange new website and taking a look at some of the bill reports, I thought tracking dollar bills was such a cool idea that I bookmarked it right away, entered every bill I had and wrote the URL on all of them.
For the first nine months, I didn't do that much georging. Maybe just 60 bills or so a month, which was basically just the money I got from the ATM and also the change from shopping. Part of the reason for that was I didn't use a rubber stamp. I would painstakingly write the URL on each bill with a sharpie.
In May 2000, I ordered an official Where's George stamp from the George Store. Apparently, that was not a moment too soon as just a short while later, the website stopped selling those. The stamper turned out to be a real boost to my georging as I georged over 100 bills that month and lots more after that. That was also about the time when I started getting singles from the bank tellers instead of twenties at the ATM. Actually, it was a Commerce Bank teller who suggested that getting dollar bills in multiples of 100 would be faster since they had those already pre-counted and strapped. Little did he know that I'd soon be asking for those straps of bills all the time. :)
At the same time, Northern New Jerseyans started noticing and entering Georges in a big way. Hank, the webmaster, got an interview on the Ron and Fez Show, which at that time was broadcast only in the NY tri-state area. ADAM, NJ's #1, was interviewed for the Star Ledger, a local newspaper.
From tracking some of your money, it's a natural progression to tracking all your money. From spending larger denominations, again it's a natural progression to spending mostly singles and fives. And this way madness lies.
As I found out, it is indeed possible to pay for almost anything in cash. Even the utilities -- telephone, electric and cable -- had in-person payment centers. I was entering up to 3,000 bills a month in late 2001 but cut back a bit to about 2,500 bills a month after that. I also brought georges to furry and sci-fi conventions, and got some other georgers started that way. Among them are digeri and custer37.
In April 2001, I found out about geocaching through Where's George. There were a number of georgers writing in the forums about how they were leaving some georges in geocaches. Some were also talking about this new sport over in the #wheresgeorge IRC channel. Curious, I checked out the Geocaching website. I already had a Garmin E-trex that I had purchased a while back for street navigation so I plugged in the coordinates for an easy geocache in Rockland County and went for it. Took me two tries, but I found it and was hooked. Traded a coin for a george. 800+ geocaches later, I'm still going for them with gusto and have found caches in nine states.
And so it was until the present day. I sure am looking forward to year #4! :)
Got this e-mail from TravelZoo today:
From: "Travelzoo" <email@example.com>
Subject: Travelzoo Trades Publicly / Symbol: TVZO
Date: Thu, 29 Aug 2002 09:05:29 -0700
To our shareholders:
We have exciting news for you. We are pleased to announce that,
as of yesterday, Travelzoo has commenced trading publicly.
The ticker symbol for Travelzoo is TVZO
Thank you for your continued support.
Chairman & CEO
Whoa! They're serious!
This company, a number of years ago, was giving out free shares to anyone who came to the website and filled out a form. At that time, I got three shares, which somehow became six shares later on, and didn't think anything about it. What's it worth now? Oh, about $39. Uhh... I think I'll hang on to those just for fun. :)