Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Virtual Snow

Too bad it's not virtual snow. Then I could use virtual money to buy a large, new virtual snowblower.

Old Man Winter let us know that he hasn't forgotten us. Fortunately the worst of it passed us by. Based on forecasts the past two days I'd been worried that tonight I would not be able to get home from work. Whew!

Tonight, while deciding what to write about here my bro' from Pennsylvania called. As we briefly skimmed across a topics we came to this one, and I pass it on for your entertainment.

Essentially, the U.S. Mint introduced a program in which enabled people to get Frequent Flyer miles by buying U.S. coins. Because there were no shipping costs, people could buy the coins with credit cards that offered rewards, take them straight to the bank and pay off those cards with the cash. Net net: the more coins they got, the more Frequent Flyer perks.

The Wall Street Journal article relays a number of stories about clever citizens who took advantage of this crack in the system including one man who took his wife to Tahiti for a two week vacation in October.

I don't fully understand the economics of it, though. It costs the government money (taxpayer dollars) to ship the coins, so it is a loss to the Mint any way you look at it. Even if the U.S. Postal Service waived the charges for shipping the coins, someone is paying for the fuel to make the delivery. It's all pretty weird to me. It's a virtual snowjob. Now where's that virtual snowblower when you need it?

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