are the Geeks, for they shall internet the earth
New Funny Money
Making a counterfeit US Dollar is a felony (actually anything over a nickel
is), and requires expensive equipment, extensive knowledge of printing,
paper, and inks. But here's a new twist... fake coupons? At best a
misdemeanor if proof is provided. Recently I paid patronage to a local
McDonalds wherein a bulletin board had a printed statement with a coupon for
a free salad. The statement claimed that this was not a valid coupon and
would not be honored by the store, although it looked very realistic... bar
code and all, it was a fake. The fast food's posting further informed
customers that this was spreading via e-mail and was "currently being
investigated," and thanked their customers for their patronage. I
wondered how many coupons were accepted before this was found to be fake?
I've seen other coupons passed around work for 'nearly-free' meals at other
dining establishments... and realized that this is the new craze. Once more
there are hacktivist websites that post printable bar-codes for such stores
as Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Target, etc... where people can pay pennies on the
dollar for products. Legally, this is a big problem. Many fast food joints
have 'printable' coupons on their web-sites which they won't contest even if
it was printed by a dot matrix printer. Imagine if making a buck was that
So who is accountable? Its doubtful the law will find the originating perp.
If an innocent Joe receives an e-mail with a coupon and he uses it... he
intends to invoke a coupon, not to defraud... and without illegal intent,
the government therefore has no case. Catch a guy with 40,000 coupons in the
trunk of his car, and I suppose you might have another case altogether, but
a single person with a single coupon is a tough case to try over a Jarrod
approved submarine sandwich, and yet if 50,000 people use this coupon, then
that company is out about $250,000.00.
And if an anti-corporation activist goes through your local Walmart with
fake UPC stickers covering original UPC codes, does the 80 year old guy who
just purchased a $90.00 DVD player for $25.99 get charged with a felony?
Nope... no intent. Just a guy walking out of the store feeling lucky.
I know that this information is potentially dangerous, and I do not condone
any illegal activities which defraud companies, even if they have replaced
store checkers with automated 'do-it-yourself' checkouts. Call this a fault
of big corporations trying to save a buck by letting go of half-educated
store checkers and uneducated fast food counter personnel to computers that
don't know any better. What this boils down to is UPC (Universal Product
Code) is out and education needs to be back in.
Then again maybe it just makes me chuckle... Damn, I'm out of paper.
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