Thursday, July 16, 2009
Sharp Increase in Cigarette Prices Bankrupts One New Hampshire Smoker
NH man charged 23 quadrillion dollars for smokes
Jul 16 2009
A New Hampshire man says he swiped his debit card at a gas station to buy a pack of cigarettes and was charged over 23 quadrillion dollars, forcing him to file for bankruptcy.
Josh Muszynski (Moo-SIN'-ski) checked his account online a few hours later and saw the 17-digit number _ a stunning $23,148,855,308,184,500 (twenty-three quadrillion, one hundred forty-eight trillion, eight hundred fifty-five billion, three hundred eight million, one hundred eighty-four thousand, five hundred dollars).
Mr. Muszynski said with the price of cigarettes going up that much he no longer could afford to smoke, so he was quitting but wanted to get that last pleasurable sensation from smoking. He then proceeded to chain smoke two packs of cigarettes, at a cost of more than 46 quadrillion dollars.
When asked by a reporter where he would get that much money, Muszynski said the tobacco industry had agreed to sponsor him as a publicity stunt to get more young people addicted to nicotine and thus ensure a future market for its deadly product. But he said he was given no indication that there would be such a large increase in cigarette prices. He said he was only paid $2,500 by the tobacco industry.
To make matters worse he also was struggling with his bank, Bank of America, for assessing him a $15 overdraft fee for insufficient funds to cover the charge. "They should have known there was something wrong because my average balance runs about $250," said Muszynski. "The bank should have realized there was no way I could ever make good on a charge of that size. What is there that could possibly cost 23 quadrillion dollars?" he said rhetorically.
The bank agreed not to charge him for the 2d pack of cigarettes.
Bank of America said only the card issuer, Visa, could answer questions. Visa referred all questions to the bank in a game of Blame the Other Merchant.
A designated spokeswoman for the BOA, Sylvia Scapegoat, who was unauthorized to say anything meaningful, said her only requests were to remain anonymous and not be tricked by reporters into revealing any details about the multiple fraudulent and illegal activities of her employer, because she wanted to keep her job, as she was a single mom and desperately needed the health insurance benefits for her two disabled children and elderly mother who suffers from emphysema.
Both requests were denied as the reporters grilled MS SCAPEGOAT mercilessly about the BOA's slimeball transactions with Timothy Gaithner, Secretary of the Treasury, which Scapegoat ultimately broke down and revealed, after which she suffered a violent epilepsy attack and had to be carried from the room on a stretcher.
On arrival at a local hospital, Ms. Scapegoat was informed her health insurance had been discontinued, as her employment with the BOA had terminated immediately after the press conference. A company henchman said Scapegoat was terminated for breach of her duty to say nothing of substance during the press conference.
When her seizures subsided somewhat in the emergency waiting room, she was escorted to the exit by a hospital security guard and told she needed to go to a charity hospital. She managed to reach a pay phone in a nearby strip shopping center where she used her last 50 cents to call her brother to come get her. She got his answering service which advised he was having an important all night meeting at home and would return all calls in the morning.
Still suffering the after effects of her earlier seizure, Scapegoat sat down momentarily, and slumped against a postal drop box, to rest and consider her options. After a few minutes she was arrested by local police and taken to the county jail where she was charged with loitering, vagrancy and public intoxication. Temporary bail was set at $2,500, pending a hearing before a magistrate the following morning.
Disclaimer: Some parts of this account may not be completely accurate because it was written by a rookie reporter who was alcohol impaired at the time. Any necessary retractions or corrections will appear in a subsequent issue of this publication.