Haha! Let's make things worse. July 31, 2008 10:43 AM   Subscribe

"This is a really excellent question"? Seriously?

This question, while probably not dabbling in the illegal (yet), is completely unethical and a very poor use of Metafilter. Speaking as someone who has been to Zimbabwe and has friends there suffering from the hyperinflation and complete mismanagement of the country and systematic destruction of society there, I find this an incredibly crude, joking response to the issues there.

Worse, however, the responses to the question are encouraging the OP to carry out his inane scheme. Allow me to elaborate on why that perpetuates the cycle:

Nobody in Zimbabwe wants or really for that matter realistically trades in Zim dollars anymore, as they are for all intents and purposes useless. The only thing they are any good for is exactly what the poster is trying to manipulate - they are actually facing a shortage of the physical dollars there because they've become a collector's item on ebay.

A hundred billion Zim dollars, not considering the recently announced (and completely impotent) "revaluation" of the currency, isn't even enough to buy a loaf of bread in Zim, because 100 bil won't even get $1 USD on the black market there at this point.

You want to know who's selling those $100 bil notes online, though? I'll give you a hint, its not the people who have issues getting a loaf of bread there. (But the article I linked said that's exactly what 100 bil is worth? The article was published one week ago. That's the rate at which the currency is plummeting.) People who have internet access are those who are strategically positioned within the country to benefit from the suffering of millions of their countrymen. Whether its white Afrikaaners profiteering off of the black market for oil or food, or black government officials and their friends and family, the vast majority of people that still have access to things like running water and electricity at this point (and thus the internet, and thus ebay), are people who are complicit in the continued downward spiral, for personal gain. I might point out that these are the same people who either directly or indirectly support Mugabe's banning of NGO efforts (which, strangely, no one's talking about very much) to stem the tide of hunger and disease in his country because he still thinks he can somehow hide from the world what he's doing to his country.

The shelves of the grocery stores in Zim are empty. There's no gas at the gas stations. I know because I've seen them.

Helping this poster carry out his funny little joke is tantamount to contributing to the suffering of the people literally starving to death in Zimbabwe.

I would have hoped to see a question on "What can I do to help Zimbabweans?" but instead I'm looking at the exact opposite. This question makes me sick.
posted by allkindsoftime to Etiquette/Policy at 10:43 AM (162 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

I flagged it, as well. Probably not the greatest use of Ask Metafilter, even if it isn't strictly against the guidelines. Guess we'll see what the motivation was to keep it, soon enough.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:45 AM on July 31, 2008


There's a good FPP in this which would be far more constructive than this call-out, methinks.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:47 AM on July 31, 2008 [3 favorites]


Lighten up, Francis.
posted by Grither at 10:50 AM on July 31, 2008 [8 favorites]


they are actually facing a shortage of the physical dollars there because they've become a collector's item on ebay.

That's not what the article says. It says they have a higher value on ebay than they do on the streets. Those are two different things.
posted by electroboy at 10:51 AM on July 31, 2008


Helping this poster carry out his funny little joke is tantamount to contributing to the suffering of the people literally starving to death in Zimbabwe.

Hype much?
posted by fixedgear at 10:54 AM on July 31, 2008


It seems like the poster wants to buy the wheelbarrows of worthless money (like the $1000 notes), not the $billion ones.
posted by smackfu at 10:54 AM on July 31, 2008


I, too, believe in a strong Zimbabwean dollar policy.
posted by fatllama at 10:55 AM on July 31, 2008


(And the trouble with buying the wheelbarrows of money is that they are owned by the poor people, who would love to sell them for $20 but there's no way to connect them to us.)
posted by smackfu at 10:56 AM on July 31, 2008


Shippings going to get you every time.
posted by Artw at 10:57 AM on July 31, 2008 [2 favorites]


Actually, this is a good question - I myself was wondering how I could get my hands on a Billion Dollar Zimbabwe Note, but lacked the motivation to trudge down to the RBC Royal Bank to ask someone for help.

Good, quirky use of Metafilter.

[And we all unwittingly aid and abet the current criminal regime of Zimbabwe, anyway, because of the tacit support of our own governments for that regime. Using the same logic, if your are using a high-energy flat-screen monitor to look at Metafilter right now, or used a vehicle powered by an internal combustion engine to get to work or school today, you are responsible for the plight of small, flat island countries in the South Pacific that will be obliterated by the rising seas of climate change.

So get off your high horse.]
posted by KokuRyu at 10:57 AM on July 31, 2008 [10 favorites]


I don't see how this is an abuse of Ask MeFi or worthy of a callout, frankly.

I saw a tech friend's photo on flickr a couple months ago, where they went out to a nice dinner on an African trip and he took a photo of the receipt in Zimbabwe because it was really odd to see so many zeros and commas and a huge price for something like $20 worth of food.

I am guessing the poster of the question saw or read about similar things and thought "I'd like to see what a million Zimbabwe dollars looks like in my hands" but did an ebay search and found that much paper dollars delivered to you costs a lot more than it is actually worth, and asked the question.

You have some familiarity with the region and experience being there, as well as all the backstory on how the rampant inflation negatively affects everyone, but I think you're projecting a bit onto the asker in this case. They're not making light of starvation or strife, they just had a curiosity about what the product of inflation (zillions of dollars being worth very little) looks like in a physical form.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:57 AM on July 31, 2008


Whitest Callout Ever.
posted by dhammond at 10:58 AM on July 31, 2008 [18 favorites]


Frankly, I am still shocked that someone on the internet acted like an asshole.
posted by milarepa at 11:00 AM on July 31, 2008 [3 favorites]


I'm glad you posted this. I thought the question was a senseless and pointless use of AskMe, and worded with either carelessness or deliberate provocation.

I'll be really excited to see this revisited in a few years when Europeans are posting to AskMe looking for dollar-bill toilet paper to buy as a gag gift. I bet the American contingent on the site gets super huffy THEN...
posted by [NOT HERMITOSIS-IST] at 11:00 AM on July 31, 2008 [7 favorites]


They're not making light of starvation or strife

I interpreted "I'm rich, bitch!" a little differently I guess.
posted by allkindsoftime at 11:02 AM on July 31, 2008 [10 favorites]


Perhaps allkindsoftime has TOO much time on his hands?
posted by Grither at 11:02 AM on July 31, 2008


Helping this poster carry out his funny little joke is tantamount to contributing to the suffering of the people literally starving to death in Zimbabwe.

Seriously and non-rhetorically, how does what the poster want to do make the situation in Zimbabwe any worse than it already is?
posted by 23skidoo at 11:04 AM on July 31, 2008


By putting more money directly in the pockets of people who are doing terrible things?
posted by Solon and Thanks at 11:08 AM on July 31, 2008 [1 favorite]


This Metatalk post is going to contribute substantially to the Ask's favorite count.
posted by Perplexity at 11:09 AM on July 31, 2008


Wouldn't buying worthless ZD's increase the street value thereof, which would trickle down to the people of Zimbabwe eventually? Isn't he in fact SAVING the country from itself? Is he not a HERO?
posted by blue_beetle at 11:09 AM on July 31, 2008 [7 favorites]


Well, at the moment it's more likely to be "How can we best use our real money to buy your electronic consumer goods?". Dollar bill toilet seats would be funny as hell though.

Wait, which side of the Atlantic am I on right now? Damn.

Apropos of nothing much, here’s a bit from an email a friend of the family sent about his work up and down Africa-

Yes the trip I did a few weeks ago was quite interesting. The majority of westerners have an impression of Africa formed by media coverage of events like Rwanda, Zimbabwe, etc –

people hacking each other to bits with machetes, or images of idyllic game parks, women in grass skirts pounding cassava while the men go off hunting antelope with bows & arrows. No doubt there are places like that, but Africa is a much bigger place than Europe. It's as if an African's view of Europe was formed by the recent conflict in the Balkans, Kosovo etc. where neighbours started murdering each other.

Having said the above, I was talking to one of our 2 onboard Cameroonian anti-pirate security men this morning, and mentioned the fact that I'd travelled to my girlfriend's home village of Bali a few weeks ago – he said 'Oh yes, Bali, that's where they chopped up their Fon (king), 3 years ago'.

posted by Artw at 11:09 AM on July 31, 2008


how does what the poster want to do make the situation in Zimbabwe any worse than it already is?

I thought I explained it pretty clearly above - it supports the people who are purporting the problems by providing them more USD, exactly what they need to stay in control.

It certainly doesn't make anything any better there.
posted by allkindsoftime at 11:10 AM on July 31, 2008


I was in Zimbabwe last week and a plate of beans cost $10 trillion.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 11:11 AM on July 31, 2008 [7 favorites]


Isn't he in fact SAVING the country from itself? Is he not a HERO?

Don't you understand? The country needs to be destroyed to be saved! And if the country is not in fact saved at least people need to be able to puff their chests and proclaim how moral they were in their non-asistance in saving anything.

Which makes this perfect MetaTalk material.
posted by Artw at 11:11 AM on July 31, 2008


I'll be really excited to see this revisited in a few years when Europeans are posting to AskMe looking for dollar-bill toilet paper to buy as a gag gift.

When I was in Russia, about ten years ago, you could buy toilet paper that came in a wrapper fashioned after an American $100 bill. Surely some kind of irony was at work, as the ruble was not the most stable currency around at the time.
posted by ssg at 11:14 AM on July 31, 2008


(Quietly deletes AskMe question on buying heroin from Afghanistan.)
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:16 AM on July 31, 2008 [11 favorites]


It's a case of someone having a lot of cheap chuckles at a pretty serious situation they don't understand. I think the best thing to do in those situations is what you've done here - hopefully cluing some people in.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 11:17 AM on July 31, 2008 [7 favorites]


My first thought on seeing the askme was remembering one of my favorite gags from The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940 where someone's father was killed when a crate holding $10 worth of deutsche marks fell on their head. But then again, this about about something bad happening now. Real-world effects aside, the question definitely set off my cringeometer.
posted by cimbrog at 11:17 AM on July 31, 2008


This Metatalk post is going to contribute substantially to the Ask's favorite count.

Meh, they're not worth as much as they used to be anyway.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:18 AM on July 31, 2008 [2 favorites]


On the one hand, I feel a little ooky about the premise of the question (not the asking itself), and besides that I don't think it's the best idea I've heard this week and the "I'm rich, bitch!" zinger makes me shake my head a little bit.

On the other hand, I think we're wandering pretty deep into the weeds if we're going to start nixing askme posts on the sole basis of indirect ugliness tied to it—it's a very mushy and hard-to-apply principle. I personally feel like the difference between this question and one about, e.g., a diamond ring is mostly surface gaucheness: the asker is being pretty silly in their presentation, which chafes. But "don't be gauche" isn't really in the guidelines, as much of a headache as that causes us sometimes.

It'd be totally reasonable to put a polite dissenting response in the askme thread itself pointing out in a civil fashion why you see the premise as a really bad idea. Or, since this thread exists, maybe a "Meta" link.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:20 AM on July 31, 2008


I would have hoped to see a question on "What can I do to help Zimbabweans?"

I'll bite: What can I do to help Zimbabweans?
posted by Sys Rq at 11:20 AM on July 31, 2008


I don't think the question is an inappropriate use of AskMefi at its core. It certainly could have been worded better, though.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:23 AM on July 31, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well whatever you do don't give them dollars, they'll only spend it on... well... stuff you buy with money.
posted by Artw at 11:24 AM on July 31, 2008


I'll be really excited to see this revisited in a few years when Europeans are posting to AskMe looking for dollar-bill toilet paper to buy as a gag gift. I bet the American contingent on the site gets super huffy THEN...


I'm stocking up on USD one dollar bills right now, I'm gonna corner that market. Shipping will be just 99 Euros per unit.
posted by fixedgear at 11:26 AM on July 31, 2008


For Cortex.
posted by Grither at 11:27 AM on July 31, 2008


How to help Zimbawe. (Caveat: I have not investigated these organizations.)
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:27 AM on July 31, 2008


Man, the people of Playland and Monopolyville would sure be pissed if they knew what I was about to post to YouTube...
posted by Artw at 11:29 AM on July 31, 2008


And if the country is not in fact saved at least people need to be able to puff their chests and proclaim how moral they were in their non-asistance in saving anything. Which makes this perfect MetaTalk material.

If you're referring to me, I'm over here in Africa working for one of the NGO's that's trying to respond to the crisis there. I wish I knew how to do more than that, but its frankly a pretty dismal situation.
posted by allkindsoftime at 11:30 AM on July 31, 2008 [7 favorites]


Well, you could stop whining about inconsequential posts online and maybe, you know, DO something while you're over there instead?
posted by Grither at 11:33 AM on July 31, 2008 [1 favorite]


What's the on-the-ground opinion of off colour Ask Me questions?
posted by Artw at 11:34 AM on July 31, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh, shut up and get a sense of humor.
posted by Afroblanco at 11:36 AM on July 31, 2008 [2 favorites]


MetaFilter: judging you for inconsequential bullshit since 1999.
posted by oaf at 11:39 AM on July 31, 2008


Well, you could stop whining about inconsequential posts online and maybe, you know, DO something while you're over there instead?

I think I have a little switch inside my head, or rather two switches. Statements like this seem to flick both switches simultaneously. The first switch immediately shuts off all of my sarcasm/joke sensors, so that I have no idea if the person commenting was being facetious. The second switch immediately forces me to cringe and to start desperately hoping that the person who made the comment was, in fact, joking.
posted by shmegegge at 11:45 AM on July 31, 2008 [11 favorites]


I, too, believe in a strong Zimbabwean dollar policy.

If Ron Paul were elected dictator of Zimbabwe, he'd put the country back on the gold standard.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:45 AM on July 31, 2008 [2 favorites]


Solon and Thanks writes "It's a case of someone having a lot of cheap chuckles at a pretty serious situation they don't understand."

Why don't you think they understand the situation and just don't care?
posted by Mitheral at 11:45 AM on July 31, 2008 [1 favorite]


also, I wonder what all those comments Jessamyn deleted had said. Were people getting frothing mad over there?
posted by shmegegge at 11:46 AM on July 31, 2008


Astro Zombie:

It's really too bad that it's so hard to find good charities these days. If only there were some kind of organization that evaluated and compared them...
posted by shadow vector at 11:46 AM on July 31, 2008


Why don't you think they understand the situation and just don't care?

I'd prefer to give them the benefit of the doubt, and there are already enough "Christ, what an asshole" posts around.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 11:48 AM on July 31, 2008


also, I wonder what all those comments Jessamyn deleted had said. Were people getting frothing mad over there?

I flagged the first four comments that were posted. One said that they didn't have an answer but really wanted to know how to do it, one said that it was making light of a serious situation, and another one said that buying their currency would actually help the situation. I don't remember what the other one was about, but it was another non-answer.
posted by burnmp3s at 11:50 AM on July 31, 2008


Well, you could stop whining about inconsequential posts online and maybe, you know, DO something while you're over there instead?

What are you trading in, Grither, AK-47 futures in anticipation of the civil war? Precious and strategic metals for when the mines shut down? Or just violence and human misery in general?
posted by jamjam at 11:53 AM on July 31, 2008 [5 favorites]


"Haha! Let's make things worse."

I'm sure someone has already pointed this out already, but buying Zimbabwean dollars would actually make things marginally better, since you would be creating a demand for their currency.
posted by Afroblanco at 11:55 AM on July 31, 2008


In the same way that by buying conflict diamonds you're paying the wages of people in the mines.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 11:57 AM on July 31, 2008 [2 favorites]


That's not what the article says. It says they have a higher value on ebay than they do on the streets. Those are two different things.

From allkindsoftime's rant I interpret that he has knowledge of the situation beyond what's in that article.
posted by Deathalicious at 11:58 AM on July 31, 2008


What are you trading in, Grither, AK-47 futures in anticipation of the civil war? Precious and strategic metals for when the mines shut down? Or just violence and human misery in general?
posted by jamjam

Haha US Treasuries, actually....so...um...you're basically right!
posted by Grither at 11:59 AM on July 31, 2008 [1 favorite]


(and just because it was jokingly mentioned, here is a great site for checking out charities.)
posted by Solon and Thanks at 12:01 PM on July 31, 2008


allkindsoftime, I really, really appreciate you're very close to this, but I think that comment was veering a bit far from "flawed premise, here's why" into more of an advocacy smackdown for what is okay in askme, especially when this is a case where you have already brought it in detail to metatalk and the thread's been linked. I removed it, but you're welcome to repost it in here if you want.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:05 PM on July 31, 2008


Grither -- "Haha US Treasuries, actually....so...um...you're basically right!"

Treasuries? Dude, take a look at Fannie Mae / Freddie Mac paper, five year tenor. You'll pick up about 80bps spread over government paper, and minimal downside. Besides, I've got paper on table saying we're gonna see a US downgrade by one or more of the ratings agencies within twelve months, CDS' are already moving that way and I don't think you'd wanna be long Treasuries when that happens.
posted by Mutant at 12:07 PM on July 31, 2008


It was a "polite dissenting response...pointing out in a civil fashion why [I] see the premise as a really bad idea."

I think I met all the criteria, cortex.
posted by allkindsoftime at 12:10 PM on July 31, 2008


Mutant, I trade US Treasuries in the repo market for the broker-dealer I work at, not for my personal book...
posted by Grither at 12:14 PM on July 31, 2008


I'm sure someone has already pointed this out already, but buying Zimbabwean dollars would actually make things marginally better, since you would be creating a demand for their currency.

The richest people in Zim right now are those who hold the most USD.

You're right - sending more USD to Zim will make things marginally better by creating a demand for their currency. Solid logic.

It will make things marginally better for those who hold the most USD. Brilliant.
posted by allkindsoftime at 12:16 PM on July 31, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm sure someone has already pointed this out already, but buying Zimbabwean dollars would actually make things marginally better, since you would be creating a demand for their currency.

as I understand economics (poorly), this is not how it works. If people were buying all the US dollars they could get their hands on so that they could show them off to friends without actually spending them, then their not actually giving the dollars any value. the dollars would have to remain in circulation for their value to increase, not languish in some guy's bedroom. if that guy had used them to buy something afterward, they could at least be seen as being worth whatever he bought, but now they are worth literally nothing since they will sit, unused, in his room until he gets tired of them and throws them out.
posted by shmegegge at 12:18 PM on July 31, 2008 [1 favorite]


oh wow. THEY'RE not giving the dollars, not THEIR...
posted by shmegegge at 12:20 PM on July 31, 2008


This is what you posted:

ph00dz -

I'm not going to answer your question. I refrained from saying the following in this thread, because technically this won't savvy with the guidelines for AskMe, but since cortex gave a pass on this one, I hope this won't be deleted.

What you're trying to do, while it may seem interesting and funny and maybe even cool in some way, contributes directly to a problem that I don't think you really understand. People in Zimbabwe are literally starving to death. Many have been killed by the ruling party, which has been described as a military junta. Many of those killed probably haven't gotten the mercy of a bullet, because machetes are a much cheaper and send a more effective message to the oppressed.

NGOs that are trying to step in and alleviate the suffering have been forbidden to do so by the corrupt ruling government. The country is in a downward spiral and the rest of the world is content to sit back and watch, which is bad enough. I've explained in the linked MetaTalk thread why this takes it to a new level - I'd prefer you stayed with the millions who are willing to shrug at the matter when it pops up on their news-feed rather than write their representative or support organizations working to respond to the situation. You're effectively taking action in the opposite, however, by purchasing Zim dollars.

The choice is yours to go through with it. When you're making love on top of that money though, I hope you pause to look down for a second and realize that it is, in fact, blood money.


Again, it reads like heavy-handed advocacy, and you cap it off with the invocation of the poster having sex on piles of blood money, which regardless of the (agreed!) juvenile framing of the question is getting into weirdly aggressive territory yourself.

If what you'd posted looked more like this...

ph00dz -

I'm not going to answer your question. I refrained from saying the following in this thread, because technically this won't savvy with the guidelines for AskMe, but since cortex gave a pass on this one, I hope this won't be deleted.

What you're trying to do, while it may seem interesting and funny and maybe even cool in some way, contributes directly to a problem that I don't think you really understand. People in Zimbabwe are literally starving to death. Many have been killed by the ruling party, which has been described as a military junta. Many of those killed probably haven't gotten the mercy of a bullet, because machetes are a much cheaper and send a more effective message to the oppressed.

NGOs that are trying to step in and alleviate the suffering have been forbidden to do so by the corrupt ruling government. The country is in a downward spiral and the rest of the world is content to sit back and watch, which is bad enough. I've explained in the linked MetaTalk thread why this takes it to a new level - I'd prefer you stayed with the millions who are willing to shrug at the matter when it pops up on their news-feed rather than write their representative or support organizations working to respond to the situation. You're effectively taking action in the opposite, however, by purchasing Zim dollars.

The choice is yours to go through with it. When you're making love on top of that money though, I hope you pause to look down for a second and realize that it is, in fact, blood money.
[Here's a link to some more information. What you'd be doing would, as I hope that helps you understand, likely actually make things worse for the people of Zimbabwe. Also, there's a metatalk over yonder.]


...then I wouldn't have had a problem with it at all. I think your closeness to the subject may be messing with your "am I blitzing the thread" filter in this case, and again I can totally appreciate the normalcy of that happening, but yeah, lighter touch at it please if you're going to go there.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:24 PM on July 31, 2008 [2 favorites]


"If you're referring to me, I'm over here in Africa working for one of the NGO's that's trying to respond to the crisis there. I wish I knew how to do more than that, but its frankly a pretty dismal situation."

Right… So, can I send you some cash and have you send back some awesome currency?

Because if the object is that it's unethical bad people with a lot of money doing this at the expense of the poor, well, why can't some good, ethical guy like yourself step in and sell their currency at an above-face but still less than eBay rate and use the profits to fund development grants or shoe programs or something?
posted by klangklangston at 12:29 PM on July 31, 2008 [6 favorites]


Wow. Cortex, you'd make a hall of an editor.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:31 PM on July 31, 2008


You know, you probably could tackle this in an interesting, informative and non-preachy way and it would be to absolutely everyones benefit and, as Alvy Ampersand says might be good FPP material. Certainly in the last couple of FPPs on the Zimbabwe we’ve seen a lot of people expressing horror at the situation but feeling like there isn’t really much of anything to do about it – if you can suggest real and concrete steps that’s something everybody I going to be interested in.

Perpetuating this thread, on the other hand, probably isn't so great an idea.
posted by Artw at 12:32 PM on July 31, 2008


I don't know. I thought the AskMe was entertaining, and then I thought the MeTa was lame, and then I thought cortex was cool and allkindsoftime are lame, and now I think cortex is lame and allkindsoftime is ok.

It's like a rollercoaster.
posted by kbanas at 12:35 PM on July 31, 2008 [1 favorite]


You really do have all kinds of time, dontcha?
posted by katillathehun at 12:35 PM on July 31, 2008


Oh, shut up and get a sense of humor.

If we all did that, there would be no need for metatalk.
posted by milarepa at 12:38 PM on July 31, 2008 [1 favorite]


and allkindsoftime are lame

This has nothing to do with anything but I think it's an example of a neat sort of production error how kbanas matched "allkindsoftime" up with a plural-agreeing "are". "all kinds" being that sort of modifier, some reptile part of kbanas' brain may have insisted at keyboardin' time. Language is neat.

posted by cortex (staff) at 12:39 PM on July 31, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'll be really excited to see this revisited in a few years when Europeans are posting to AskMe looking for dollar-bill toilet paper to buy as a gag gift.


Why wait when you can get it now?
posted by TedW at 12:42 PM on July 31, 2008


Uhh... wow. So much controversy over so stupid a question. (Yes, I'm the guy who posted it.)

Anyway... Matt's pretty much right.

Zimbabwe, apparently, has an abundant supply of a resource I want (banknotes) at a very, very cheap price. I'm willing to pay several times the official exchange rate if need be -- a scenario which can only help the person from whom I'm buying. If it's true that 100 billion ZBW won't get a single US dollar, then it's because there's no market there.

There could be -- me. Heck, I'd gladly pay a dollar for 1 billion ZBW, thus ensuring a massive profit and / or hard currency for anyone who I do business with.

'Course, I hadn't thought about it... but if an NGO wanted to step in and act as the middleman for my sack full of money, that'd be the best possible scenario. Obviously, I'm willing to pay a fee and if that can help the people of Zimbabwe directly, I'd be all for it.

If you've got contacts there, maybe we can help each other out, Allkindsoftime?

Oh... and for whatever it's worth, the "I'm rich, Bitch!" thing is a reference to the end of every Chappelle show. The only people it's mocking are the folks in the USA who think it's really cool to flash around money to show their status.
posted by ph00dz at 12:45 PM on July 31, 2008 [1 favorite]


some reptile part of kbanas' brain may have insisted at keyboardin' time.

Oh snap, cortex just called kbanas a reptile! Burn!
posted by inigo2 at 12:47 PM on July 31, 2008


Just take these PDFs to a print shop and have at it.
posted by plinth at 12:47 PM on July 31, 2008


Inspector.Gadget: "I was in Zimbabwe last week and a plate of beans cost $10 trillion."

How much was a whole hill?
posted by benzo8 at 12:54 PM on July 31, 2008


now I think cortex is lame

I'm on the fence on this AskMe in general but I think the deletion was warranted. The answer was basically a callout, and those belong in MeTa rather than in the question itself.

Even if a callout is completely justified, AskMe threads are supposed to be about helping the OP with the issue at hand, rather than explaining to them why what they are trying to do is morally wrong.

I'd gladly pay a dollar for 1 billion ZBW, thus ensuring a massive profit and / or hard currency for anyone who I do business with

I'm not a currency economics expert, but it seems like one of the implicit winners in this transaction is the government who printed all of that worthless money. They are the ones who caused this problem in the first place, and they are the ones who most want those pieces of paper to be worth something.
posted by burnmp3s at 12:54 PM on July 31, 2008


Just take these PDFs to a print shop and have at it.

Holy crap! You mean I can just print Monopoly money from the internet? Wow. I'm totally manipulating the currency market next time I get together with Grandma for a game.
posted by eyeballkid at 12:55 PM on July 31, 2008 [1 favorite]


Anyway... Matt's pretty much right.

In case this was directed at me, ph00dz, I'm not Matt, though I do have some pretty weird dreams sometime that, well, I'll save that for an anonymous askme.

If it wasn't me/him you were talking to, I don't know who the Matt is in the conversation so a username would probably be a good idea.

posted by cortex (staff) at 12:59 PM on July 31, 2008


ph00dz is probably referring to Matt... You know the guy - glasses, recumbent, pays your salary...
posted by benzo8 at 1:02 PM on July 31, 2008 [2 favorites]




Wow, I was actually talking to my brother just this morning about trying to get one of the awesom $100,000,000,000 bills. None of the exchange places have them, though.

FYI, the Zimbabwean dollar is being devalued tomorrow, which is going to drop ten zeros on all currency. So as of tomorrow morning trying the exchange rate is going to literally be a billion times smaller anyway.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:03 PM on July 31, 2008


That makes so much more sense. Hi, I work here but I have no idea when my boss is in the room!

*drops pants, opens scotch*
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:05 PM on July 31, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yeah... sorry for the confusion. I was referring to mathowie's comment about my motivations for wanting to purchase an abundance of Zimbabwe dollars.
posted by ph00dz at 1:05 PM on July 31, 2008


I've never really understood hyperinflation. It just seems to me at some point when a dollar becomes worth less than a hundred-thousandth of it's former value, most people would abandon it and revert back to bartering or some other way of exchanging goods.

And maybe that's what actually happens on the ground, but when things have gotten that bad, I find myself amazed that the mints make the effort to print things like this when it's essentially worthless.
posted by quin at 1:06 PM on July 31, 2008


So as of tomorrow morning trying the exchange rate is going to literally be a billion times smaller anyway.

Thanks to the magic of hyperinflation, the exchange rate will be insanely high again very soon. Adding and removing zeros from money is not generally a good way to fix huge economic problems.
posted by burnmp3s at 1:07 PM on July 31, 2008


ph00dz's efforts to entertain himself by buying devalued currency is no more ethically objectionable than your choice to spend your time volunteering whining about it in metatalk rather than volunteering in a soup kitchen.
posted by phearlez at 1:07 PM on July 31, 2008


Yeah... sorry for the confusion.

I think the only one who was confused was me, and it was my own fault. No worries.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:07 PM on July 31, 2008


ph00dz, I'd be happy to help you.

I'll sell you 100 billion Zim notes at $200 USD each. I'll use $1 to buy the note (from someone who won't eat otherwise that day) and $199 to support NGO's trying to feed people like the person I'll buy the note from.

I'll be in Zim at the end of August and coming to the US shortly thereafter and can mail your notes to you then. Mefi mail me and I'll give you my paypal address.
posted by allkindsoftime at 1:08 PM on July 31, 2008 [3 favorites]


ph00dz's efforts also have the upside of not looking snotty, arrogant, know-it-all, and humorless.
posted by phearlez at 1:11 PM on July 31, 2008


I think you can get a better deal. Have you tried Yahoo Answers?
posted by Science! at 1:13 PM on July 31, 2008 [5 favorites]


if you can suggest real and concrete steps that’s something everybody I going to be interested in.

I for one am responsible for a number of those posts on the blue about Zim that you refer to. I've also noted on MeTa before a list of orgs that people can support in order to help. There are a lot of good orgs in Zim trying to provide basic services and goods to those who can't get them, but frankly most of them have their hands tied right now by the government there.

The best thing you can do as an American, in my opinion, is write your representatives and express your position on the situation, and vote for candidates that have a strong position on the issue.
posted by allkindsoftime at 1:19 PM on July 31, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'll be really excited to see this revisited in a few years when Europeans are posting to AskMe looking for dollar-bill toilet paper to buy as a gag gift. I bet the American contingent on the site gets super huffy THEN...

I'm an American, and I already use US money to wipe my ass. It's not the most comfortable way of doing things, I'll admit, but there's a certain amount of personal satisfaction that I gain from it.

Not so much better than me now, are you, Susan B. Anthony?
posted by Parasite Unseen at 1:25 PM on July 31, 2008 [7 favorites]


from phearlez: ph00dz's efforts to entertain himself by buying devalued currency is no more ethically objectionable than your choice to spend your time volunteering whining about it in metatalk rather than volunteering in a soup kitchen.

We already had this conversation.

from artw: And if the country is not in fact saved at least people need to be able to puff their chests and proclaim how moral they were in their non-asistance in saving anything. Which makes this perfect MetaTalk material.

from allkindsoftime: If you're referring to me, I'm over here in Africa working for one of the NGO's that's trying to respond to the crisis there. I wish I knew how to do more than that, but its frankly a pretty dismal situation.

As I see it, allkindsoftime has more than served the time some of you view necessary to be able to "whine" about things he thinks are important during his free time. Are we really going to play the "well why aren't you helping right now huh huh I know you help 40 hours or more a week but how come right now you aren't oh yeah what about that?!" game?
posted by Solon and Thanks at 1:26 PM on July 31, 2008 [8 favorites]


I'm an American, and I already use US money to wipe my ass.

This technique has really helped me with confidence issues.
posted by carsonb at 1:30 PM on July 31, 2008


As I see it, allkindsoftime has more than served the time some of you view necessary to be able to "whine" about things he thinks

Nice. Metawhining.
posted by electroboy at 1:31 PM on July 31, 2008


My real name?! Why Doctor Curt Connors, of course.
posted by kbanas at 1:33 PM on July 31, 2008


I'll be in Zim at the end of August

Do you know the Invader?
posted by spicynuts at 1:34 PM on July 31, 2008


ph00dz's efforts also have the upside of not looking snotty, arrogant, know-it-all, and humorless.

You know, the fact that allkindsoftime is actually in East Africa doing something to address the situation that ph00dz enjoys making rather callous and ignorant jokes about certainly doesn't give allkindsoftime the right to legislate on AskMe questions, and it doesn't make ph00dz' AskMe question illegitimate, either. But maybe it's something to consider, phearlez, before you weigh in with your "OMG somebody isn't taking a sufficiently cool/cynical/aloof/ironic attitude to the topic!" schtick?
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 1:34 PM on July 31, 2008 [12 favorites]


I really don't get all the sneering in here. Whether or not you agree with allkindsoftime, what is so objectionable about someone expressing strong principles about a little-known (to you) problem that may indicate a greater moral quandary? Smacks of lazy internet intellectuals too hasty to envision a high-horse under anyone who disrupts their lulz.
posted by [NOT HERMITOSIS-IST] at 1:38 PM on July 31, 2008 [13 favorites]


Nice. Metawhining.

I try. But really, I can understand disagreeing with the idea that we should delete "immoral" questions from AskMe (because I do disagree with that) but the aloof jokey attempts at shooting down allkindsoftime just because he cares about this topic is the opposite of what makes metafilter special.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 1:45 PM on July 31, 2008 [4 favorites]


I really don't get all the sneering in here.

I do, and I have a theory for it, but REDACTED.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:46 PM on July 31, 2008


I dacted it once already, but it didn't take, is the thing.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:00 PM on July 31, 2008 [1 favorite]



I'll sell you 100 billion Zim notes at $200 USD each. I'll use $1 to buy the note (from someone who won't eat otherwise that day) and $199 to support NGO's trying to feed people like the person I'll buy the note from.


See, now that's progress. Time to start negotiating. I offer you $3. That is a 200% markup, similar to the gifts you get for giving to other charities.
posted by smackfu at 2:02 PM on July 31, 2008


(Unrelated: Since people clearly use favorites on Metatalk as votes, I wish there was a way to give negative votes.)
posted by smackfu at 2:06 PM on July 31, 2008


I really don't get all the sneering in here.

I do, and I have a theory for it, but th mds wn't lt m tll bt t bcs th'r fscsts.

posted by shmegegge at 2:07 PM on July 31, 2008


I'd pay $5 for the 100 Billion notes, or $20 for a sampler pack of 100 bills of smaller denominations, since volume is kinda the cool thing about hyperinflation.
posted by klangklangston at 2:09 PM on July 31, 2008


It's not really clear to me how anyone besides perhaps someone with a clear line of sight to Mugabe and a 30-06 can really help the situation in Zimbabwe.
posted by Skorgu at 2:09 PM on July 31, 2008


but th mds wn't lt m tll bt t bcs th'r fscsts

No need to bring the Welsh into this.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:10 PM on July 31, 2008 [7 favorites]


Oh, shut up and get a sense of humor.
If we all did that, there would be no need for metatalk.


Everyone needs a hug!

Where can I put a box of hugs to be sent to Zimbabwe?
posted by grapefruitmoon at 2:36 PM on July 31, 2008


Skorgu - me neither, other than the currency-buying thing is pretty much a bad idea (fiar point, could have been put in a non-preachy way) and that we should all be ashamed of ourselves, to which the reply is, and always will be, in this post and the next hundred postd of it's kind, OH GEE THANKS MR. MORALLY SUPERIOR PERSON, HERE, LET ME THROW GARBAGE AT YOU. The way I see it they knew what they were doing when they climbed on the cross and they deserve waht they get.

MetaTalk: Everybody should be ashamed of themselves all of the time.
posted by Artw at 2:37 PM on July 31, 2008


It certainly doesn't make anything any better there.

So what? This is MetaFilter, not SaveTheWorld.com.

Look, allkindsoftime, I really respect what you're doing over there. You're certainly spending your time in better ways than most of us keyboard warriors, and you have earned the right to have strong feelings about this.

But you need to recognize that you are too close to the situation to have any objectivity about it. You're like someone with a kid who's developmentally disabled who gets frothing mad every time someone calls something "retarded." Totally understandable, but alienating and unhelpful. You wanted to bring the situation up and you did that, and that's fine, but two things demonstrate that you can't come down off your (well-earned) high horse even enough to communicate usefully, your attempt at an AskMe response (rightfully deleted) and this:

I'll sell you 100 billion Zim notes at $200 USD each. I'll use $1 to buy the note (from someone who won't eat otherwise that day) and $199 to support NGO's trying to feed people like the person I'll buy the note from.

I'm sorry, but that's just plain jerkish, and I think you need to step back and realize you're not doing your cause any good. You've made your point, but you're not winning hearts and minds.
posted by languagehat at 2:39 PM on July 31, 2008 [4 favorites]


Skorgu writes "It's not really clear to me how anyone besides perhaps someone with a clear line of sight to Mugabe and a 30-06 can really help the situation in Zimbabwe."

While the 30-06 is popular with armed forces because of supply, you can do a lot better with a modern cartridge like the .308 or .300 Win Magnum.
posted by Mitheral at 2:41 PM on July 31, 2008


Everyone is right. Comedy and tragedy co-exist.

People are dying, the situation is horrible. On the other hand, I don't think that many Metafilter users will care more about Zimbabwe by insisting that no joshing is allowed about its inflating currency. Surely Zimbabweans joke about it as well?

On point: That's not funny; My Brother Died That Way
posted by ferdydurke at 2:42 PM on July 31, 2008


I can't believe no one has assassinated Mugabe yet. Foreign Dictator Assassination should be the new private weekend hobby. Surely there are bored ex-marines with the training and nothing better to do.

Haven't Hollywood movies and World of Warcraft warped enough young hopeless men into thinking they too can be celebrated kick-ass super-heroes? (Be the Batman of foreign policy!) You'd think anti-social, gun-loving weirdos could make better desperate self-destructive leaps for their personal legacy than shooting up their schools.

I will personally perform 45 minutes of quality oral sex on the first Mefite to take down Kim Jong-il.
posted by dgaicun at 4:17 PM on July 31, 2008


(Be the Batman of foreign policy!)

That kind of implies that Mugabe would be apprehended more or less non-violently and made a resident of a poorly-secured correctional facility from which he would periodically escape.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:25 PM on July 31, 2008 [2 favorites]


I will personally perform 45 minutes of quality oral sex on the first Mefite to take down Kim Jong-il.

Until you post a gender to your profile, I don't think you'll get many takers.

Then again, perhaps most MeFites are at least liberal enough to respect that ultimately, a mouth's a mouth.
posted by [NOT HERMITOSIS-IST] at 4:28 PM on July 31, 2008


Yeah, I was gonna say. The phrase was "quality", not "heteronormative", oral sex.

On the other hand, I have crazy puritan hangups about committing premeditated murder.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:38 PM on July 31, 2008


*hugs everyone in the thread*
posted by NikitaNikita at 4:44 PM on July 31, 2008


you are responsible for the plight of small, flat island countries in the South Pacific that will be obliterated by the rising seas of climate change.

So get off your high horse.


Unless of course you are on a small flat island with a rising tide. A high horse just might be what you are looking for.
posted by Sailormom at 5:14 PM on July 31, 2008 [4 favorites]


"I will personally perform 45 minutes of quality oral sex on the first Mefite to take down Kim Jong-il."

What about the second?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:48 PM on July 31, 2008


Come to think of it... any mefites know where I can get a pair of Superdollars? I'd like two with the same serial number (just to prove they're fake).
posted by ryanrs at 7:11 PM on July 31, 2008


But you need to recognize that you are too close to the situation to have any objectivity about it.

I don't get this attitude. If you are close to the situation, aren't you more qualified to speak about it, not less? How does being distant from a situation make you more "objective" exactly? If being distant and detached actually made for good decision making, the current US administration would be like the best EVAR, amirite?
posted by speicus at 7:21 PM on July 31, 2008 [2 favorites]


More qualified to speak about it? Yes. More qualified to judge it relative to other problems in the world, that you don't have personal experience with? No.
posted by smackfu at 7:52 PM on July 31, 2008


I was in Zimbabwe last week and a plate of beans cost $10 trillion.

really makes ya think, don't it?
posted by quonsar at 8:07 PM on July 31, 2008


"If being distant and detached actually made for good decision making, the current US administration would be like the best EVAR, amirite?"

Uninterested vs. disinterested.
posted by klangklangston at 8:57 PM on July 31, 2008


Metafilter: If Ron Paul were elected dictator of Zimbabwe.
posted by matkline at 10:06 PM on July 31, 2008


Dear friend,

I am qvantamon the only son of Mr & Mrs qvantamon, It is sad to say that the passed away mysteriously of my father in France during one of his business trips abroad year 25th.Febuary 2006.Though his sudden death was linked or rather suspected to have been master minded by an uncle of his, who travelled with him at that time. But God knows the truth! My mother died when I was just 6 years old,and since then my father took me so special.

Before his death on Febuary 25th 2006 he called the secretary who accompanied him to the hospital and told him that he has the sum of THREE HUNDRED SEVENTY FIVE BILLION ZIMBABWE DOLLARS left in fixed deposit account in one of the leading banks in Africa. He further told him that he deposited the money in my name,and finally issued a written instruction to his lawyer whom he said is in possession of all the necessary but legal documents to this fund and the bank. I am just 21 years old and an university undergraduate and really don’t know what to do. Now I need an overseas account where I can transfer this funds and after the transaction i will come and live with you and i’m ready to do anything of your choice. This is because I have suffered a lot of set backs as a result of incessant political crisis here in Ivory coast.

The death of my father actually brought sorrow to my life and i wished to investe under your care please. I am in a sincere desire of your humble assistance in this regards.Your suggestions and ideas will be highly regarded. Now permit me to ask these few questions:-

1. Can you honestly help me?
2. Can I completely trust you? .

What percentage of the total amount in question will be good for you after the money is in your account while i finalised my education? Please,Consider this and get back to me as soon as
possible.

Sincere regards,
qvantamon
posted by qvantamon at 10:20 PM on July 31, 2008 [3 favorites]


Afroblanco said: "Oh, shut up and get a sense of humor."

This is a perfect example of the fuck-you acidity that has made me take two big steps back from this site in the last few weeks, and quite frankly is now confirming that point of view for me.

I don't expect anyone to care whether or not I'm around, but I think I've put in enough time and words to be entitled to my opinion.

I'm not sure if this phenomenon is on the rise, or if I'm just more sensitive to it than ever. I do know that the older I get the less I see things in black and white, and I become more able to respect people's opinions even if I disagree -- I don't feel compelled to argue someone to death about it. And I'm not interested in watching others do it. I don't think beating someone over the head with your opinion is reasonable or helpful.

But this is different. Allkindsoftime is a contributor to this site. He's been around for almost three years. He's made 59 FPPs on the blue. He's been favourited almost 2000 times. I still remember a story he told in a comment months ago about giving a African guide his shoes, because the guy literally could not afford to own shoes.

And still, when earnestly explaining a situation that very, very few of us know fuck-all about, and requesting that people be more respectful of the people involved, he is told to "shut up and get a sense of humour."

You know? Telling someone to shut up hasn't been an acceptable response since I was in elementary school. It wasn't even really acceptable then. It's such a repugnant, disrespectful, bratty way to talk to someone; even more so someone who's got good intentions.

And it happens over and over. It's happened over and over in the feminism threads, and as a result a number of really valued posters have been driven away. And I just don't get where people are coming from at all, when they lack the empathy to disagree respectfully with a member of their own community; when they lack the restraint to refrain from piling on; when they lack the decency to let someone differ in opinion and have their own voice; when they lack the ability to admit there's something they may not know or understand; when they can't ever admit they're wrong.

It's like an explosion of aggressive apathy -- a proportion of the community who thinks you and your opinions are worthless and needs you to know that.

Let me guess: I should shut up and get a sense of humour. Well, I don't expect you to know anything about my personality but I can tell you that's not a problem for me. However, I do not and never will see telling someone to shut up or fuck off an acceptable way to interact, in person or online. There's just a lack of respect that, though it's not exactly pervasive, is an underlying current here that feels really hostile and unwelcoming.

If this is a place where someone can't say, "Please don't make light of the suffering of people in the middle of poverty, violence and hunger; I work with those people and am a first-hand witness and the situation is very serious," and be given a modicum of respect or even just common decency... well, if this is that kind of place I'm just really disappointed, not to mention really sorry.
posted by loiseau at 10:52 PM on July 31, 2008 [55 favorites]


I'm not sure if this phenomenon is on the rise, or if I'm just more sensitive to it than ever.

It may be that I'm completely misreading the situation and actually be contributing to the problem*, but I like to think that the overly aggressive stuff stands out more these days because the tone's actually improved in the last while and people are making more of an effort not to engage in that sort of thing.

*Despite my efforts not to. But I am trying, I swear!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:16 PM on July 31, 2008


Seconding what loiseau just said but, erm, what I actually came back to this thread to do, post-reading and thinking about it, was to offer to PayPal allkindsoftime $50 dollars, no hundred trillion Zimbawean dollars expected in return, because I have been very sad to see what is occurring in Zimbabwe and the situation seems to be getting worse every day. I'd quite like to give some money to someone who might be able to directly aid the situation. I'm not sure if you were entirely serious above, allkindsoftime, but if so, well, I'd like to take you up on your offer. If that suggestion isn't practical, or an effective use of my money, I'd love your suggestion of a charity I could donate to, or some material goods I could purchase and send your way.
posted by MadamM at 11:18 PM on July 31, 2008


I don't expect anyone to care whether or not I'm around,

I care! You make good comments.

And I just don't get where people are coming from at all, when they lack the empathy to disagree respectfully with a member of their own community;

I think there's an implicit notion from allkindsoftime, that the person who made the original Askme is an uncaring, stupid asshole. I may be wrong about that, it's the impression I get. As such, the discussion starts off with a fighting tone and by human nature, things easily get worse. This happened a lot with the feminism threads too.

So while I agree with your comment here, I don't think it's as one sided as you portray it. I chalk it up to the difficulties of communicating.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:06 AM on August 1, 2008


If this is a place where someone can't say, "Please don't make light of the suffering of people in the middle of poverty, violence and hunger; I work with those people and am a first-hand witness and the situation is very serious," and be given a modicum of respect or even just common decency... well, if this is that kind of place I'm just really disappointed, not to mention really sorry.
posted by loiseau

Oh man, if only allkindsoftime had said it as pleasantly and concisely as you just did, this all could have been avoided. But no, he had to write a novel about it, basically saying:"you use metafilter poorly, shame on you, your family, and anyone who responds to your red-headed step-child of a question, and may you burn in hell, while I laugh at you from my privileged position in heaven that I have earned because HEY, LOOK WHAT I'M DOING OVER HERE TO HELP EVERYONE! (you suck)". You know?
posted by Grither at 4:16 AM on August 1, 2008


Grither, I think you must be quoting someone else there, with your "basically saying" part.

I don't like it when people do what you did there, and it really makes loiseau's point.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:39 AM on August 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


If this is a place where someone can't say, "Please don't make light of the suffering of people in the middle of poverty, violence and hunger; I work with those people and am a first-hand witness and the situation is very serious," and be given a modicum of respect or even just common decency... well, if this is that kind of place I'm just really disappointed, not to mention really sorry.

If you have 59 FPPs, you should know better than to post a (now deleted) non-answer derail saying why the question is bad outside of MetaTalk. Furthermore, you shouldn't be surprised or offended when people call it out for the threadshitting it is.
posted by oaf at 4:45 AM on August 1, 2008


you should know better than to post a (now deleted) non-answer derail saying why the question is bad outside of MetaTalk.

FYI, I did not post in the original thread until after cortex said "It'd be totally reasonable to put a polite dissenting response in the askme thread itself pointing out in a civil fashion why you see the premise as a really bad idea." We had some cortex disagreed with my initial call-out but I took his editing to heart in what now remains in the thread.

So thanks, but I do know better.

I think there's an implicit notion from allkindsoftime, that the person who made the original Askme is an uncaring, stupid asshole. I may be wrong about that, it's the impression I get.


Brandon, you are wrong about that, but your impression isn't. I did fly off the handle in a sense in my original post and could have done better to take a deep breath and post it more along the more eloquent lines of what loiseau had to say. Its an emotional issue for me personally after what I've seen there, I'll admit that, and I let them get the better of me in my call-out and the ensuing thread suffered accordingly.

ph00dz, I don't think you're an uncaring, stupid asshole, although I do think it was a stupid question, which you admitted here yourself already. languagehat was right, my offer to your was just plain jerkish, I'm sorry for that.

I won't buy you stacks of currency from there (I still think that's fundamentally wrong), but as a memo to my genuine concern for this matter and my appreciation for your understanding of that, I'll pull a few bills together from myself and some of my coworkers, so that you can have a couple. Mefi mail me where you'd want me to send them to. I probably won't be able to post them til I'm back in the states end of this month.
posted by allkindsoftime at 5:05 AM on August 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'll sell you 100 billion Zim notes at $200 USD each. I'll use $1 to buy the note (from someone who won't eat otherwise that day) and $199 to support NGO's trying to feed people like the person I'll buy the note from.

They're only going for about $75 on eBay right now, and I highly doubt those sellers are willing to donate so much of the profit to charity. So if you're actually interested in raising some money and not just trying to one-up people in this thread, I'd suggest making a lower offer immediately. I'm open to paying $20 for one; maybe 30 if shipping's not too bad.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:06 AM on August 1, 2008


I care, too, loiseau. You leaving would only make things worse, plus it would piss me off. And you don't want to see me angry. okay, mostly I just get all squinty-eyed and brow-furrowed, but you really don't want to see me squinty-eyed and brow-furrowed. You just don't.

As far as allkindsoftime's post, if I were the person who posted the question (or something similar), I'd really want that different perspective that I might not have considered or realized. I agree that being very close and very emotionally invested in the situation means that allkindsoftime came off as a bit too j'accuse! in some spots, but in terms of the AskMe, the straight information he provided can be helpful for the poster (or anyone else reading the post and considering doing the same sort of thing), who might appreciate the heads-up and be grateful for an inside view of things. And usually we MeFites value input from our "man (or woman) on the ground".

I really don't think allkindsoftime was playing holier-than-thou about his NGO work. He didn't bring that up at all, in the post or over several comments - until he felt like he was being accused of being a do-nothing loudmouth. You can see how that might rankle. A lot.
posted by taz at 5:06 AM on August 1, 2008


We had some cortex disagreed... (gah)
posted by allkindsoftime at 5:09 AM on August 1, 2008


two things demonstrate that you can't come down off your (well-earned) high horse even enough to communicate usefully,

He communicated usefully to me, and obviously, to others.

But he sounded ANGRY and didn't CODDLE YOU and your ENTITLED BULLSHIT so you have the right to lecture him on his tone and tell him he's not really helping as long as he's making some people feel bad for their decisions, instead of holding their hand and leading them gently through a beautiful field of only the most lovely and comforting rhetoric.
posted by sondrialiac at 5:18 AM on August 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


And, I agree with everything loiseau said.
posted by sondrialiac at 5:19 AM on August 1, 2008


So if you're actually interested in raising some money and not just trying to one-up people in this thread, I'd suggest making a lower offer immediately.

Thanks, but I don't want to start some racket via MeFi for exporting Zim dollars, even if the proceeds go to charitable causes. I think its questionable at best, plus I doubt the mods want that going on via their site. Matt and I have traded a few notes in the past about setting up a MeFi-sponsored charity for some former child soldiers, but it kind of went by the wayside - I'll see if I can't get back to work on a way to make that happen with an accredited org in a way that works for Matt.

As far as the notes I'm sending ph00dz, I'm not sure if it will be a 200bil note or not (I have no idea what actual in-country availability is like at the moment, as I'm not there - but if they're on e-bay than they're probably getting hard to find. They don't print in-country anymore as its cheaper to buy the currency from other nations who print it, so availability depends on how often the shipments come too.). What are easy to find are all of the old bills that are now not worth the paper they are printed on - from 1K notes to 20K to 200K to the 100mil notes. I'll try to find the biggest ones people have sitting around but I'm only going to send examples, not the huge stacks.
posted by allkindsoftime at 5:24 AM on August 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Brandon, you are wrong about that

Then I whole heartedly apologize and wish you well in your work.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:29 AM on August 1, 2008


Aw....hugs all around!
posted by Grither at 5:32 AM on August 1, 2008


And still, when earnestly explaining a situation that very, very few of us know fuck-all about, and requesting that people be more respectful of the people involved, he is told to "shut up and get a sense of humour."

I don't want earnestness in my MetaFilter.
posted by smackfu at 5:39 AM on August 1, 2008


(And that's not just being flippant. It seems like there's an eternal conflict here between people who "take stuff seriously" and people who think "it's just a website". The second group will make jokes about anything, the first group will get upset and leave over offensive content.)
posted by smackfu at 5:50 AM on August 1, 2008


I will personally perform 45 minutes of quality oral sex on the first Mefite to take down Kim Jong-il.

And to show my support for dgaicun's very generous offer, I'll throw in an additional 45 minutes of quality anal sex to go with it.

There are a lot of good orgs in Zim.

I'm not surprised. If I was living with rampant hyper-inflation, I'd be trying to distract myself with the best orgy's I could orgynize as well.

Note: Offer of anal sex only includes an active performance. No passive anal sex included.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:00 AM on August 1, 2008


allkindsoftime: That was classy and much appreciated. You're a stand-up guy.
posted by languagehat at 6:19 AM on August 1, 2008


So thanks, but I do know better.

I don't think it's productive to respond to a question by accusing the asker of trafficking in "blood money."
posted by oaf at 6:28 AM on August 1, 2008


smackfu writes "It seems like there's an eternal conflict here between people who 'take stuff seriously' and people who think 'it's just a website'. The second group will make jokes about anything, the first group will get upset and leave over offensive content."

I think you can take stuff seriously but still joke about anything.
posted by Mitheral at 6:43 AM on August 1, 2008


I think taking things seriously requires typing in all caps, so people know you're serious.
posted by electroboy at 7:25 AM on August 1, 2008


And talking about leaving the site, even though you REALLY don't want to.
posted by smackfu at 7:27 AM on August 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Smackfu, I assume all those people are posting from Canada, where they moved after GWB was elected for a second time.
posted by electroboy at 9:23 AM on August 1, 2008


Nah, I made sure to choose ansestors who were smart enough to enter Canada back when immigration standards were low. They tell me the land bridge trail was a real bitch* though.

* not really. I've got first nations ancestors but none of them remember the land bridge.
posted by Mitheral at 9:52 AM on August 1, 2008


If people were buying all the US dollars they could get their hands on so that they could show them off to friends without actually spending them, then their not actually giving the dollars any value. the dollars would have to remain in circulation for their value to increase, not languish in some guy's bedroom. if that guy had used them to buy something afterward, they could at least be seen as being worth whatever he bought, but now they are worth literally nothing since they will sit, unused, in his room until he gets tired of them and throws them out.

Pretty sure you're missing the point. The US dollars in your example, by virtue of being buried/burned/stored/etc, will make other dollars in circulation worth more (provided, perhaps, that no one knows that those dollars have been removed from circulation). It's sort of seigniorage in reverse.
posted by Kwantsar at 1:29 PM on August 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


The US dollars in your example, by virtue of being buried/burned/stored/etc, will make other dollars in circulation worth more

wouldn't this require some extravagant number of dollars being bought? I mean, in the case of zimbabwe, wouldn't this require virtually all of their currency to be bought? Right now 100 billion Zim (is that the currency? I may be using the wrong word) won't get you even 1 dollar, if I understand this thread correctly, specifically because of how much worthless money has been printed. I mean, I follow what you're saying, but I think we're talking about an impossible proposition, so buying the amounts this guy is talking about won't really have that effect. Correct me if I'm wrong, though. As I said, I know jack shit about economics.
posted by shmegegge at 1:45 PM on August 1, 2008


And to show my support for dgaicun's very generous offer, I'll throw in an additional 45 minutes of quality anal sex to go with it.

Is it pledge drive week at Metafilter again?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:29 AM on August 2, 2008 [4 favorites]


Is it pledge drive week at Metafilter again?

Is there a way to get the totebag and the umbrella without the anal?
posted by electroboy at 6:23 PM on August 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Is there a way to get the totebag and the umbrella without the anal?

I licked the fish from quonsar's pants and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 9:04 PM on August 2, 2008


Is there a way to get the totebag and the umbrella without the anal?

Sure, but you'll miss out on the Bruce Springsteen DVD set. Don't you think the Boss is worth a little anal?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:53 PM on August 2, 2008


It probably means something that I read that as "Is there a way to get the teabag and the umbrella..."



I don't want to know what it means.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:15 AM on August 3, 2008


I don't want to know what it means.

It means I'm not inviting you to go camping anytime soon.
posted by electroboy at 9:54 AM on August 4, 2008


Little bit of a reaction shot from someone over at Kubatana.net re: what she characterizes as "inflation hyper-insensitivity", including references to the original AskMe here as well as to a BoingBoing thread. Starting point is the eBay situation itself.

They've got several blog entries under the Shortages and Inflation category that make for interesting reading in context.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:38 AM on August 5, 2008


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