The Syruppy Origin of the Discount Shopping Coupon

Okay, itís March, but here is a Christmas tale that kind of restores your faith in human nature, especially youth. Last December, the UK freesheet Metro reported that a teenager had collected no fewer than 470 discount coupons, taken them to a supermarket, and bought food to the value of nearly £600 with them. Then he donated the whole lot to needy families through the charity Doorstep.


Discount coupons are everywhere and for everything, including on-line, from hosting coupon codes to discounts for the type of videos that canít be mentioned on a family website, but did you know the shopping coupon was pioneered way back in the 1890s by a company that is not only extant but a global brand? The man who came up with the idea was the future mayor of Atlanta, Georgia; his name was Asa Candler, and he was also the first president of the Coca-Cola Company.

The man who came up with the formula for this iconic drink was a local pharmacist, John Pemberton. It was his book-keeper Frank Robinson who devised the name Coca-Cola, and initially the Jacobís Pharmacy store sold only around 9 glasses of the syrup with carbonated water a day. Between 1888 and 1891, Candler bought the rights to the new elixir for around $2,300, and by 1895 he had established syrup plants in Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles.

In spite of its unique taste, he would probably not have succeeded to the extent he did had he not given away coupons for complimentary first tastes of the brand whose name is now synonymous with American Imperialism (and better loved).

Above is a photograph is one of his original coupons, but although itís the real thing - pun intended - donít get any ideas about printing it out and handing it in at your local supermarket. Unlike the product itself, it is way beyond its use-by date.

[The above article was published originally by Yahoo! Voices, March 10, 2014].

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