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Walmart-Brenda Fry

Many couponers complain that Walmart cashiers just don’t understand coupons or how to apply them correctly. But maybe that ignorance is for the cashiers’ own good. Because if the wrong couponer teaches a cashier how to coupon “their” way – the cashier could end up paying the price.

That’s what has happened to a Walmart cashier in Wisconsin, who’s been found guilty of misusing coupons by taking advantage of “glitches” to steal thousands of dollars from her former employer.

42-year-old Brenda Fry of Camp Douglas, Wisconsin pleaded no contest yesterday to a felony charge of theft by false representation. She was arrested in February, after Walmart accused her of allowing a couponer to glitch in her checkout lane – and then joining in the lucrative fun and doing it herself.

It happened at a Walmart store in nearby Lake Delton, and it involved coupons that became notorious among coupon glitchers, before the issuing company finally shut down the whole racket.

Walmart alerted police to the scheme back in August of last year. Fry told investigators that a woman named “Samantha” frequented her checkout lane, and frequently bought a whole lot of protein bars using very high-value Hydroxycut coupons.

The coupons offered $5 off one, or $10 off two, costly Hydroxycut diet supplements. But nefarious couponers who take advantage of “glitches” in coupons’ coding, found out they would scan just fine on nearly any product made by Hydroxycut maker Iovate Health Sciences – including protein bars that Walmart sells for just 98 cents. And since Walmart’s coupon policy allows for cash back if the value of a coupon exceeds the price of a product, Samantha was making more than $4 for every protein bar she bought. She also successfully used a $4 Almay coupon on trial-sized products that sold for $1.25, earning $2.75 in cash for every one she bought, even though the terms printed on the coupon forbade it.

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And to thank Fry for her hospitality, Fry said “Samantha bought her a few minor items for being her cashier… including a candy bar, soda, and $25 gift card,” the police report stated.

But instead of being suspicious, Fry told police she was curious. She was a newbie at coupons and cashiering, she said, having worked at Walmart for only two months, and receiving only one day of training to be a cashier. “Samantha told her about coupons that can be used for ‘glitching’ and that the information is on Facebook,” noted the police report. “Brenda said that she wanted Samantha to teach her how to use coupons in this manner.”

So Fry said Samantha provided her with some of the coupons, and she tried it for herself. Soon, protein bars were flying off the shelves in Lake Delton. Fry told police that she, Samantha and several co-workers – including a customer service manager – were glitching with the Hydroxycut coupons. They’d either obtain other products for free with the overage, or pocket the difference in cash. Fry told police that the customer service manager “had made a comment about Walmart shouldn’t be so upset with Samantha doing this, because others are doing it as well.”

But the other Walmart employees weren’t charged, and police never tracked down Samantha, so Fry was the one who took the fall and was held responsible for the whole scam. Police didn’t say how much illicit overage Fry received herself, how much she enabled by accepting Samantha’s coupons, and how much her co-workers earned, but Fry was charged with taking a total of $4,779. That would require the combined purchase of about 1,200 protein bars, over a period of just a couple of months.

As part of her no contest plea, Fry signed a deferred prosecution agreement. She’ll avoid any penalties if she stays out of trouble for 18 months, though she will have to pay $2,500 in restitution to Walmart.

Meanwhile, Iovate was completely rattled by the widespread glitching that was going on with its coupons. As it turned out, not only did the coupons work on products for which they were not intended, but they were even coded never to expire. There were so many problems with the coupons, and so much abuse, that Iovate invalidated every one of its available coupons a month after Fry was first interviewed by police. And the company hasn’t issued a single coupon since.

So Iovate learned a very expensive lesson. And now it appears Fry has, too.

Image sources: JeepersMedia / Lake Delton Police Department

4 Comments

  1. Pingback: And In This Week’s Edition Of Walmart Crime… | Keep Bailing

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  3. Laura Hernández says:

    N pos wow se pasan de veras eso es abuso total

  4. Good to see one source actually telling the story that actually happened.Fry trusted this customer and got burned for it.Walmart was aware of what was going on,and aware of Samantha.So they cut a deal with Fry that would erase any charge from her record as long as she’s cool for 18 months.In other words,they say you can end up in prison for 3 years if you dig deep into this,against Walmart lawyers…or you can end up with no charge at all if you just go away.Just go away so we don’t have to deal with the publicity of five other employees involved,and the customer in question with ten grand of free stuff in her basement.The lake delton police who never bothered to look for Samantha…and they do have her name and residence.Walmart told them to stay out of it,simple as that.let’s put it this way,as someone who was close to all parties and knows what went on,Samantha’s Facebook pictures have tens of thousands of dollars of items.Dozens of pics of items like 50 toothpastes,20 bulk packs of toilet paper,toiletries and food items ,mass amounts of cleaning supplies.All in amounts nobody would buy unless they were rich or planning for nuclear fallout.She posted her sickness as if almost to brag about what she got away with.Yet even with this evidence…Walmart nor the police looked deeper.What a giant cover up this is.By the way Fry couldn’t have done more than $500 personally.The cost to purchase the newspapers to receive the coupons and then buy the candy bars would have been way beyond her wages.She was simply scared into taking a deal to avoid prison.Wouldn’t you?I mean you know what happened and know who knows what,and know the police know about all of it,then everyone suddenly gets real quiet after Walmart talks to them?They got the police to walk away from it and dig no deeper.They actually told Fry that,when she contacted lake delton police.They apologized to her but they were advised to stay out of it and look no deeper,and that Walmarts s people would be taking it from there.If that doesn’t scream cover up nothing does.

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