While some of y’all are focused on the next big superhero movie, I’m gearing up the first high-profile couponing crime comedy ever to hit the big screen!
Queenpins comes out on Friday, Sept. 10 to theaters — and eventually, streaming on Paramount+. Now, this is based on a true story, and we’ve gotta share why Kristen Bell & Co. decided this story deserved the Hollywood treatment.
Kristen Bell plays an extreme couponer turned criminal mastermind.
As the cashier hands over the long receipt, he calls it her “trophy.” Later, we get a peek of this couponer’s home, complete with stockpile shelves and a skeptical husband.
Kirby Howell-Baptiste plays her best friend and a coupon vlogger.
Bell is reunited with fellow The Good Place actor Kirby Howell-Baptiste, who plays a YouTube coupon vlogger with a channel called “Time to Save with JoJo.”
I mean, generally there’s nothing wrong with being a YouTube coupon vlogger. . .
The women discover companies sending free product coupons.
There are plenty of companies who will send you free coupons when you contact them, and it’s totally legal.
Bell’s character discovers that companies give you high-value coupons when you call to complain — and then discovers that all of these high-value coupons are printed at the same place. And that gets her thinking. . .
They hatch a plan to rob the printer and sell the coupons for profit.
Their scheme involves finding the coupon-printing facility and heisting the coupons so they can sell them to “families who need them” — and make a big profit in the process.
In real life, Robin Ramirez, Amiko Fountain, and Marilyn Johnson used an overseas printer to forge high-value coupons — like $24 off a box of Huggies diapers — and sold them via eBay and their (now-defunct) website, SavvyShopperSite.com.
Selling coupons is one of the Five Things Couponers Shouldn’t Do!
They get lots of orders for their coupons, and the money starts rolling in.
Apparently their heist is successful, because the trailer shows them sorting through stacks of coupons and logging a massive number of orders. They start shipping the coupons to buyers nationwide.
That tracks with the real-life story, where they sold more than 1,500 orders of counterfeit coupons worth millions of dollars. (And their minimum order was $50!)
That’s a big no-no. . . but is selling your stockpile legal? We’ve got the answer.
Vince Vaughn plays the Postal Service agent sent to investigate.
I remember when I started couponing, it felt illegal.
In Queenpins, Vaughn is on the prowl to find the people responsible for distributing illegal coupons through the mail. He’s joined in the investigation by a local grocery store’s goofy loss prevention specialist.
Fun fact! The real-life coupon fraudsters apparently didn’t like being defrauded themselves; a portion of their coupon-selling website had a “Wall of Shame,” listing the names of people who wrote them bad checks and calling them “con artists and scammers” HA!
Don’t know how the movie ends, but if it’s anything like real life, they’ll get busted.
The Queenpins trailer shows the women with big stacks of money, guns, private jets, and cars — just like the real-life story, where authorities seized $2 million worth in vehicles, guns, and even a speedboat.
In the movie, it’s clear the coupon-selling scheme turns quite profitable, and they even get the help of a computer hacker (played by pop star Bebe Rexha) to cover their tracks.
Thankfully, there are no spoilers for the ending in the trailer. But if it’s like the real life story it’s loosely based on — or like what happened to some Winn-Dixie coupon fraudsters, or the Walgreens/Kroger coupon criminals — they don’t get away with it.
The real-life story wasn’t a comedy — and ended in jail time and other consequences.
In real life, once Arizona police caught up to Ramirez, Fountain, and Johnson, they seized about $40 million worth of counterfeit coupons — plus $2 million worth of things they bought with their fraudulent funds.
In the end, the trio was convicted; Ramirez was sentenced to two years in jail, and her buddies served three years probation.
And they had to pay $1.3 million in restitution to Procter & Gamble — who was among the 40 brands the fraudsters stole from.
You won’t even get arrested for these couponing tips.