Cult Heroes: Pudding Guy

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In 1999, David Phillips, a civil engineer at UC-Davis, became a cult hero by converting $3,150 worth of Healthy Choice pudding cups into 1.253 million frequent flyer miles.  Phillips calculated that the value of the mail-in promotion for the air miles exceeded the cost of the pudding on which it was offered. Unable to remove all the UPCs himself before the deadline, Phillips recruited members of the Salvation Army to help peel the UPCs off 12,150 dessert cups in exchange for the donation of the pudding. Because most of the pudding was donated to charity, Phillips also received a $815 tax deduction.

Phillips’ pudding story received international attention from news outlets such as The Wall Street Journal and The Times. The story was also re-created in the 2002 film Punch-Drunk Love starring Adam Sandler.  Read more…

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