Americana: Shouldering Chips

To settle a crinkly bag of lawsuits over illegal price fixing, Laura Scudder's Frito-Lay, Granny Goose Foods and five other manufacturers of potato chips and tortilla chips agreed to refund $3.8 million to retailers and $2.2 million to consumers in Arizona, California and Nevada. Company records listed the retailers involved, so that was no problem. But how to handle the refunds to consumers?

After three years of work on the distribution problem, company officials initiated a court-prescribed honor system. They published newspaper notices asking people to fill out forms categorizing themselves as light, medium or heavy consumers of chips. Heavy users were...

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