In July, out-of-towners set up on local sidewalks to sell $31 coupon books offering discount deals at local restaurants, entertainment venues, and golf courses. Prominently displayed on their tables were “Support Our Troops” stickers, and the books themselves name the nonprofit U.S. Wounded Soldiers Foundation as the beneficiary of sales. Asked how much of the $31 price went to the vets, a man hawking the book on North Fourth said 70 percent.
In fact, buried within the book is the information that the vets get just $1 per book–and that the books are produced by a for-profit company called Creative Marketing Solutions. Another vendor, Laura Hook-Quinn, was up-front about that, saying she got $10 for each book she sold and the veterans $1.
Asked about the discrepancy, the man claimed his 70 percent figure included money paid by local businesses to be in the book. He refused to give his name but said he’d be around for several weeks: “There’s a lot of people at the art fair,” he said. “We’ll sell a lot of books.”