Fun_People Archive
25 Jan
Loophole Of The Day -=- Wall-to-Wall Pudding

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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 100 11:21:00 -0800
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Subject: Loophole Of The Day -=- Wall-to-Wall Pudding

X-Lib-of-Cong-ISSN: 1098-7649  -=[ Fun_People ]=-
From: "Andy Alexis" <>
[used without permission]
From: The Sacramento Bee, 1/25/2000:

He's flying high, thanks to wall-to-wall pudding

By Blair Anthony Robertson
Bee Staff Writer
(Published Jan. 25, 2000)

Meet David Phillips. He's smarter than the rest of us. The proof is in the

Whereas most people get suckered into contests and promotions and never
win a thing, Phillips turned a simple Healthy Choice frequent flier deal
into a windfall, parlaying $3,140 worth of diet pudding cups into 1.25
million miles in the air. That works out to about $25,000 worth of flights,
enough to last a lifetime.

Back in May, Phillips sized up the Healthy Choice promo and saw an
opportunity. The deal said Healthy Choice would give out 500 frequent flier
miles for every 10 Universal Product Codes mailed in. And if you entered
before May 31 you got an early-bird special: double the miles.

Phillips thought it was a good deal even if he were buying $2 frozen food
meals. Then he found his meal ticket and it was pudding -- 25-cent pudding.

"When I saw that I said, 'Oh, my gosh. This is it.' Instead of just planning
to pay for our trip to Europe, I said, 'This is something I've really got
to go for,' " said Phillips, a 35-year-old civil engineer at the Facilities
Services Department of the University of California, Davis.  "I quickly
realized that for 25 cents I was getting 100 free miles."

After Phillips checked his figures, he brought up the idea of withdrawing
$3,000 from the family savings account and investing it in chocolate
pudding. His wife, Cindy, was not amused.

"She's very understanding, but the prospect of having 12,000 cups of pudding
in the house did not immediately appeal to her," Phillips said.  Phillips
promised her the moon -- and if not the moon, then Europe, New Zealand,
South Africa.

With cash in hand, Phillips hit Grocery Outlet stores from Woodland to
Fresno, buying pudding by the cart-full, by the car-full. He filled up his
wife's Mercury Villager with pudding. What could the neighbors in Davis
have been thinking when he began lugging home thousands of pudding cups?
Is he eating it? Bathing in it? Is he some kind of weirdo? His two
daughters, ages 5 and 7, weren't complaining.

"For people who were brave enough to ask me, I just looked at them and
said, 'Y2K,' " said Phillips, feigning a dazed expression.

Soon his house was filled with pudding cups. He and his wife would rent
movies each night for three weeks and peel the UPC labels for hours.  Ever
the analyst, Phillips calculated that watching the tube was more than a
little profitable.

"It got to the point I could do 400 labels an hour. I was earning about
24,000 miles an hour," he said.

But time was running out. He could never peel enough labels.  Then he got
another idea:  He would donate pudding to the Salvation Army in Sacramento
and other food banks. In exchange, workers would peel off the labels. What's
more, Phillips turned the pudding into a tax deduction.

One day, the frequent flier coupons showed up on his doorstep without
fanfare. No big deal. Here's your 1.25 million miles. Healthy Choice never
called. It was, Phillips said, surprisingly matter-of-fact.

The Wall Street Journal quoted an official of Healthy Choice Monday as
saying the frequent-flier offer "met and exceeded expectations," although
the company's spokeswoman wouldn't discuss the promotion's sales figures
or data about participants.

The Phillipses' first trip will take them from Sacramento to Milan, then
on to Barcelona and London. With the miles, the round-trip tickets will
cost $75 a person, said Phillips, who until now flew a couple of times a

On the Internet, Phillips' tale has become the latest urban legend.

It's the story of how a man turned diet pudding and a dream into one sweet

Andy Alexis,
Visit me:
Sacramento, California
"The Pearl of the Central Valley"

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