In a world where everybody uses cards or phones to pay, anyone using cash is unusual and so attracts suspicion. Even now, an AI could filter out Elvis’s medication purchase from the tsunami of data in a limited domain, so world-wide by the time of this story is totally credible.
Maybe he shudda changed from CNY to Новые Рубли (Novyye Rubli, New Rubles) first, but he would first have had to find a black market dealer. Like police, they are on every street corner until you need one.
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