Living: Snipping Away at Inflation

For many consumers, coupons and refunds are a way of life

EPOP 20 forms traded 1-4-1. No CO's, rebates, sweeps. Send wish list and one current qualifier 50 cents or over.

To an ever increasing number of Americans, such gobbledygook makes sense, dollars-and-cents sense. Typical of thousands of similar classified ads carried weekly by more than 100 specialized newsletters, the message signals to a dedicated legion of supermarket shoppers that essentially the advertiser wants to trade 20 refund forms. While couponing and refunding are hardly new—one of the first cents-off offers was devised in the 1890s by C.W. Post to perk up sales...

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