I took a part-time job running a sales route one time to help fill in the gaps between paying clients and having nothing to do. This was back in the days of 8-track tapes and the CB radio boom. It took me about 10 days to cover my route and I ran it about every 6 weeks. My main client was the Allsup convenience stores and I got pretty well acquainted with some of the district managers. I was having dinner with the district manager in Albuquerque 1 night and I recall him telling of a “loss control” issue involving coupons at one of their stores. It seems one of their locations started redeeming inordinate amounts of coupons. I forget the dollar amount but something like 50 times the average rate of coupons was beeing redeemed at this 1 location over a 2 month period. It was only after the district manager spent the night parked a block up the road from the store and observing through binoculars that he caught the nighttime manager in the act. During periods of inactivity at the store the guy was wandering over and clipping coupons from his store’s own magazine rack. Then he would go back to the register, redeem them, and stick the cash in his pocket.
This article from IMediaConnection.com brought this story to mind and started me to thinking about the idea of coupon fraud has morphed into becoming a multi million dollar business.
The biggest case of fraud in the history of discount coupons is finally coming to trial in Milwaukee. In a criminal case that has taken nine years to wrap up, more than a dozen people are alleged to have stolen $250 million over a period of 10 years by exploiting the paper coupon relationship between brands and stores.