Safeway’s new Coupon Policy states that “Coupons have no cash value.”, which made me wonder why couposd usually say “Cash Value 1/100 cent.”  The answer is largely useless, but I like decoding the fine print on coupons, so I thought I’d share my findings with you:

Have you ever wondered why a coupon’s legal fine print states, “cash value 1/20 cent” or “cash value 1/100 cent?”

The answer dates back to the days of the Great Depression. During that time, food was rationed through the use of food stamps. Greedy merchants took advantage of the situation by raising the price of goods, thereby inflating the value of stamp books. As a result, some state governments stepped in and, to make things fair, declared that all stamps and anything else used to decrease the price of a product (including coupons), should have a common value. In some states, these laws remain in effect today. Therefore, to avoid having to print multiple versions of the same coupon, marketers simply include the “1/20th cent” or “1/100th” language on all their coupons.

-Source “Coupon Fast Facts”, Coupon Info Now

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9 thoughts on “Coupons have no cash value Trivia”

  1. dug says:

    I’m pretty sure the reason that they put the value of the coupon is because people were asking for the money on the coupon in exchange for the coupon. For example, if the coupon said you could save $.75 cents, people would just present the coupon and ask for $.75 cents. So they had to put on the coupon that it has no cash value.

  2. Jennifer Madison says:

    My grandma said that back in the day she used to cash in her coupons and use that money to take her kids camping. They used to give money for coupons. Wouldn’t that be nice?

  3. Misty says:

    My father in law says that the grocery stores used to give him cash in hand for the face value of coupons even thought he did not buy the food. He says he used to walk along the streets to find loose change, go into the grocery store and buy the womens magazines, and then cut out the coupons. They then used the money made from the coupons to buy candy. This would have been back in the 50′s.

  4. Kelly B says:

    I always wondered about that too. Thanks for sharing. :)

  5. ms.brilliantblonde says:

    I’ve wondered about that before, but I never would’ve guessed the answer to it! It’s always fun learning something new! Thanks Joanie! :D

  6. Mary says:

    Here’s my question: why are coupons almost always mailed to El Paso, TX?

    • Jonathan says:

      I think one of the main reasons they get sent to that area is because of the low labor costs due to the relatively lower cost-of-living. For example, I live in Maryland near Washington, DC, where the cost-of-living calculators say I could maintain my standard of living while making 35% less income if I moved from here to El Paso. Sounds inviting!

      • Karyn says:

        Hey Jonathan,

        My organization (located in DC) is looking for someone to come to a lunch n learn and talk about coupon clipping.

        Do you do this type of thing or know anyone in the area who does?

        Is there a fee?

        Thanks for your help,

  7. susan says:

    wow, that is neat. You really do learn somethin new every day. It is amazing to see how much the depression impaced every aspect of life.