Coupon Crazy

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So I just went down to get the mail and was once again completely overwhelmed with the amount of coupons in my mailbox. There were so many colorful circulars, both glossy and newsprint, for the most inane products and services (honestly, do I really need a box of "Softeeze" finger and toe bandages?) that there's a good chance I accidentally threw away an important piece of mail, which could have been buried within. If so, it wouldn't be the first time.

Which got me thinking: Who invented the darn coupon in the first place?

Well, it turns out, a pharmacist from Philadelphia named Asa Candler did in 1895. According to about.com,"Candler bought the Coca-Cola company from the original inventor Dr. John Pemberton, an Atlanta pharmacist. Candler placed coupons in newspapers for a free Coke from any fountain - to help promote the new soft drink." [ed. note: there seems to be a debate as to whether or not the coupon appeared in a newspapers or were given out by hand]
For those curious about Asa Candler, the New Georgia Encyclopedia has a well-written entry on him, though, curiously fails to mention what I consider to be his lasting contribution to society, and not in a good way.

For those curious about the history of coupons, after the jump, you'll find some cool coupon facts courtesy of the good folk over at CouponMonth.com.

For those curious about the name Asa, it's Hebrew, from the Bible, and it means "healer." There's a joke in there somewhere, I'm certain"¦

76% of the United States population uses coupons.

Shoppers saved nearly $3 billion last year by using coupons.

The typical coupon was worth $1.00 savings in 2004.

Coupon users report an average of 11.5% savings on their grocery bill with coupons.

Manufacturers offered more than $300 billion in coupon savings in 2004.

And for even more, check out Coupon Month's nifty little history of the coupon here.

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July 20, 2006 - 4:35pm
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