Commerce Secretary: Don't Extend Converter-Coupon Expiration Date - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 26 Old 06-29-2008, 02:20 PM - Thread Starter
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I didn't see this previously posted:

http://www.broadcastingcable.com/art...desc=topstoryl

Gutierrez: Don't Extend Converter-Coupon Expiration Date
Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez has a breakfast metaphor for the DTV-to-analog converter: a box of cereal.
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 6/27/2008 12:14:00 PM

Former Federal Communications Commission chairman Mark Fowler once famously referred to TV as a toaster. Now Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez has a breakfast metaphor for the digital-TV-to-analog converter: a box of cereal.
NTIA DTV-to-analog converter box coupon

Gutierrez said the expiration date on the $40 DTV-to-analog converter box coupons Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration is handing out should not be extended beyond 90 days, as some in Congress have asked for, likening it to the coupon on, say, a box of Frosted Flakes.

"I had experience in couponing given my previous background in the cereal business [Kellogg]: 90 days is pretty much the expiration you have on most coupons," he told C-SPAN in an interview for its The Communicators series. "It's long enough to give consumers a chance to think about when they are going to buy and what they are going to buy, but it's short enough to force a decision.

Gutierrez added that the longer the expiration date, the less redemptions there are and eventually the consumers forget they have them. "A lot of what we are doing here is similar to what you do in a packaged-goods industry.[The redemption] should not be any longer," he said.

But some high-profile members of Congress have pushed for extending that date, not wanting those who do forget and then can't obtain the subsidy to show up with pitchforks and torches come election time.

Acting NTIA chief Meredith Attwell Baker has said that the NTIA has the authority to permit reapplication.

Gutierrez also said he didn't think the NTIA needs to ask for any more money now on top of the $1.5 billion allocated for the coupon program, adding, "What we need to do is execute."

The NTIA is the Commerce agency overseeing the coupon program, although it has subcontracted the mechanics of that program to IBM.
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post #2 of 26 Old 06-29-2008, 04:50 PM
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Gutierrez was right with his statement "What we need to do is execute." Yeah, the bureaucrats in charge of this program!

For us early submitters, we sign up and submit and THEN find that a 90 day expiration applies. And there are no boxes available. Then boxes slowly appear and none of them have a pass through feature to pick up low powered TV stations that aren't going digital and that the government forgot about. Then some boxes appear that have a left channel sound problem. Then the government shows approved on-line vendors then pulls the plug on them in short order. Then my coupons expire.

"Execute" is right. ASAP. Along with the FEMA people that handled the New Orleans fiasco. And my senators that have ...
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post #3 of 26 Old 06-29-2008, 04:53 PM
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It seems to be more apt to liken the CECB Program to "a box of chocolates."

"A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME WILL SMELL AS SWEET. BUT IT DOES NOT FOLLOW THAT WHATEVER WE CHOOSE TO CALL A ROSE WILL POSSESS THE ROSE'S FRAGRANCE."

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post #4 of 26 Old 06-29-2008, 05:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rec630 View Post

http://www.broadcastingcable.com/art...desc=topstoryl
......Gutierrez said the expiration date on the $40 DTV-to-analog converter box coupons Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration is handing out should not be extended beyond 90 days, as some in Congress have asked for, likening it to the coupon on, say, a box of Frosted Flakes.

"I had experience in couponing given my previous background in the cereal business [Kellogg]: 90 days is pretty much the expiration you have on most coupons," he told C-SPAN in an interview for its The Communicators series. "It's long enough to give consumers a chance to think about when they are going to buy and what they are going to buy, but it's short enough to force a decision.”

Gutierrez added that the longer the expiration date, the less redemptions there are and eventually the consumers forget they have them. "A lot of what we are doing here is similar to what you do in a packaged-goods industry.”[The redemption] should not be any longer," he said.

Seems like Mr. Gutierrez lacks awareness of the actual experiences of many Americans with the CECB program. There were significant delays getting useful products into stores, there have been shortcomings with first-generation CECB designs, there's been a lot of misinformation disseminated about OTA DTV and the CECB program.

Mr. Gutierrez' remarks might have been taken out of context. Mr. Gutierrez should use the expression "no comment" when dealing with an issue he is unfamiliar with.

Someone should send Mr. Gutierrez' office some links to this AVS Forum discussion of the CECB program, so he can better understand WHY an extended coupon-redemption period may be useful to the American people.

P.S. Slightly off-topic: While C-SPAN generally is a remarkably neutral and unbiased source of political information, they have on occasion done some legislative footwork on behalf of their owners (the pay-TV cable and satellite industry).
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post #5 of 26 Old 06-29-2008, 05:34 PM
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I still think class action lawsuit. (I already started that thread)
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post #6 of 26 Old 06-29-2008, 09:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rec630 View Post

I didn't see this previously posted:

http://www.broadcastingcable.com/art...desc=topstoryl

Gutierrez: Don't Extend Converter-Coupon Expiration Date
Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez has a breakfast metaphor for the DTV-to-analog converter: a box of cereal.
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 6/27/2008 12:14:00 PM

Former Federal Communications Commission chairman Mark Fowler once famously referred to TV as a toaster. Now Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez has a breakfast metaphor for the digital-TV-to-analog converter: a box of cereal.
NTIA DTV-to-analog converter box coupon

Gutierrez said the expiration date on the $40 DTV-to-analog converter box coupons Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration is handing out should not be extended beyond 90 days, as some in Congress have asked for, likening it to the coupon on, say, a box of Frosted Flakes.

"I had experience in couponing given my previous background in the cereal business [Kellogg]: 90 days is pretty much the expiration you have on most coupons," he told C-SPAN in an interview for its The Communicators series. "It's long enough to give consumers a chance to think about when they are going to buy and what they are going to buy, but it's short enough to force a decision.

Gutierrez added that the longer the expiration date, the less redemptions there are and eventually the consumers forget they have them. "A lot of what we are doing here is similar to what you do in a packaged-goods industry.[The redemption] should not be any longer," he said.

But some high-profile members of Congress have pushed for extending that date, not wanting those who do forget and then can't obtain the subsidy to show up with pitchforks and torches come election time.

Acting NTIA chief Meredith Attwell Baker has said that the NTIA has the authority to permit reapplication.

Gutierrez also said he didn't think the NTIA needs to ask for any more money now on top of the $1.5 billion allocated for the coupon program, adding, "What we need to do is execute."

The NTIA is the Commerce agency overseeing the coupon program, although it has subcontracted the mechanics of that program to IBM.


Analogy is nice.. But what if you only have two generic brands of corn flakes
that are out of date or the package is crushed?


John
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post #7 of 26 Old 06-30-2008, 12:39 AM
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ummm...yeah...this is lunacy.

a cereal coupon would be for a specific cereal...not just $0.50 off ANY box of cereal...there wouldnt be such a large variety of cereal to choose from. And if it were for ANY box of cereal...the coupons wouldnt be released and set to expire 90 days after you get it when most of the cereals are either out of stock or havent even come out. Additionally, people would be just as hacked off if the cereal makers announced that some cereal was gonna cost $0.49...essentially free with the coupon and then four months later raised the MSRP to $0.79 (or $0.99 if you buy it at SolidCereal)...or if we found out that the cereal only costs the stores selling it $0.48 but they're selling it for 10 or even 30 cents more, taking advantage of the cereal-dependent community.

by the way...has anyone here never gotten a coupon in their paper or a magazine that had an expiration date of several years later? I could go to our coupon drawer and pull out at least 5 without even looking hard?

what they need to be discussing is why TV viewers are being "forced" to do this conversion and then having to shell money out of their own pocket to deal with it(maybe these "cereal" coupons need to be for $60 instead of $40...since no one is selling $39.99 "cereal" as promised). it would be like the government wanting to build a highway through your neighborhood, and they force you to move out of your house, give you $120,000 for your home and land, but then they tell you that you have 24 hours to spend the check or it will expire, and all the houses you have to choose from cost $170,000 or higher, with some being under power lines, some being next to a landfill, some sitting on a fault line, etc.

this guy is just trying to save money...if they dont go over their budget...i bet he gets a kickback of some sort. what a toolbag.
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post #8 of 26 Old 06-30-2008, 01:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nwiser View Post

ummm...yeah...this is lunacy.

a cereal coupon would be for a specific cereal...not just $0.50 off ANY box of cereal...there wouldnt be such a large variety of cereal to choose from. And if it were for ANY box of cereal...the coupons wouldnt be released and set to expire 90 days after you get it when most of the cereals are either out of stock or havent even come out. Additionally, people would be just as hacked off if the cereal makers announced that some cereal was gonna cost $0.49...essentially free with the coupon and then four months later raised the MSRP to $0.79 (or $0.99 if you buy it at SolidCereal)...or if we found out that the cereal only costs the stores selling it $0.48 but they're selling it for 10 or even 30 cents more, taking advantage of the cereal-dependent community



To those who do grocery shopping, I bet many of them would conclude that that you scenario is not too far from reality.
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post #9 of 26 Old 06-30-2008, 04:56 AM
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I like the analogy to a cereal coupon.

Yea, it would be like handing out coupons good for any type, any brand, of breakfast cereal, and people complain on cerealforum.com that none of the supermarkets in their area have any cereal at all, in stock.

Of course, the coupon holder is really holding out for the no-sugar diet Frosted Flakes, which is rumored that it might happen to become available, possibly, sometime, in the future. And their coupon expires while they wait.

Its the coupon issuer fault, not the holder, for not giving the coupon a far enough ahead expiration date, to allow for the fabled no-sugar diet Frosted Flakes.
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post #10 of 26 Old 06-30-2008, 05:07 AM
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if you know that cereal isn't coming out for a year you make the coupon expire in a year not 90 days and then make the cereal late because your changing the formula right at release time. All this crap could have been avoided if they just said here is your 40 dollars, knock yourself out and buy any decoder box with any features you want like it should have been and you got until next year.
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post #11 of 26 Old 06-30-2008, 08:36 AM
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In the end this another case of the Bush admnistrations worry about the
"appearance" of spending more money... Boy they have done a darn good
job of management so far. :P


John
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post #12 of 26 Old 06-30-2008, 08:57 AM
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I don't have a problem with the 90 day expiration. What ticked me off was that there was no hint on the website that there was a 90 day exiration until after I had clicked through the point of no return. Had I known, I would have waited to apply.

- kelson h

The bitterness of poor quality lasts long after the sweetness of the low price is forgotten . . . life is too short to drink bad wine

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post #13 of 26 Old 06-30-2008, 10:33 AM
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My suspicion is that the govt coupon program itself has more or less set the prices. If the coupon were for $60, we'd see mostly $80-100 boxes. If it were for $20, we'd see mostly $40 boxes.
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post #14 of 26 Old 06-30-2008, 10:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rec630 View Post

Gutierrez also said he didn't think the NTIA needs to ask for any more money now on top of the $1.5 billion allocated for the coupon program, adding, "What we need to do is execute."

Who does he want to execute? NTIA management? IBM contractors?

As far as I can tell, they are shipping coupons and processing them pretty well now. If, by "we" he means the manufacturers, transhippers, and retailers, it's pretty odd that he says "we". Maybe he thinks that NTIA certification is holding things up?


I say, fine. Don't extend the 90-day expiration. Just give each household the opportunity to reapply once for each of their expired coupons. That way, the money stays in the coupon pool. If folks can't currently find a suitable CECB, they can wait a few months and reapply (one time) - if there is still money available at that point.

Not a perfect solution, perhaps, but better than the current rules.
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post #15 of 26 Old 06-30-2008, 11:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seatacboy View Post

Someone should send Mr. Gutierrez' office some links to this AVS Forum discussion of the CECB program, so he can better understand WHY an extended coupon-redemption period may be useful to the American people.

Actually, sending a link to this forum wouldn't do much good. They wouldn't take the time to read the threads. What needs to happen is indivdual messages from many people are sent. They still might not read them, but since they have to go to no more effort than open a message, there is a better chance of getting a point across.

Clear, concise, non-emotional, non-ranting, civil comments from hundreds, or thousands might at least let them know the problem is one of no supply, not the 90 day expiration.

Also, do *NOT* say you're part of any organized group as you make a comment. Members of a group are considered as one complaint/comment no matter how many of you there are. Trust me on this. 100 signatures on a petition have much less impact than 100 individual "letters".

Now, does anyone know where to send comments to Mr. Gutierrez?

And while you're at it, send a message to your senators and representatives in the U.S. Congress. I did that weeks ago. I've not heard from the senators but did get a letter from my representative in the House. It's full of political double-talk, but at least I know my comment about lack of supply was read by someone.
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post #16 of 26 Old 06-30-2008, 11:26 AM
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For those wishing to follow the expired coupon statistics, updated each Wednesday, see this thread:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1034096

"A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME WILL SMELL AS SWEET. BUT IT DOES NOT FOLLOW THAT WHATEVER WE CHOOSE TO CALL A ROSE WILL POSSESS THE ROSE'S FRAGRANCE."

--Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield (1917)
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post #17 of 26 Old 06-30-2008, 03:05 PM
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The CECB-cereal association is funny. As I understood the conventional wisdom, cereal is always supposed to be purchased with a coupon. It's built into the pricing. Only chumps (aka bachelors) would pay the shelf price. A former cereal exec would probably know this.

I agree that the $40 subsidy influenced CECB prices. Basically added $40 to the "what the market will bear". Maybe the coupons could have been $60 for OTA-only people and $20 for everyone else.

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post #18 of 26 Old 06-30-2008, 03:24 PM
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For what its worth, my email to Carlos. (I know its a complete waste of time, but hey, I waste time all the time.)

Mr. Gutierrez,

I would like to complain about the 90 day expiration date because it prohibits me from purchasing the converter box of my choice.

This is because:

1. Mega Retailers like Best Buy in my area will not have boxes on their shelves for a "long time" due to backorders.
2. Mail Order Retailers are Price Gouging up to $90, for instance, the $60 Consumer Reports top rated Tivax converter.
3. Currently, there are NO MODELS which have excellent performance and a full feature set. (The DTVPal has the best features and the Channel Master has best performance performance.)
4. Only TWO models have S-video. (Channel Master and Apex)
5. Only ONE model has a recording timer (DTVPal)
6. Approximately 1/2 the models are simply junk.
7. New, better featured, higher performance models are being released and will continue to be released through this year and next year.
8. Again, Early Adopters have been slapped in the face. The first people to get their coupons had virtually nothing to choose from.
9. Conversely, the last people to get their cards will have the best selection of converters available.
10. The 90 day expiry is actually responsible for items 1) and 2), shortages and price gouging respectively.

The expiration date forces me to purchase ill-conceived, rushed to market, junk because anything that has merit is either unavailable or price gouged.

As a bare minimum, consumers should be allowed to reapply if they surrender their expired coupon.

Regards,

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post #19 of 26 Old 06-30-2008, 03:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by viewer29 View Post

Now, does anyone know where to send comments to Mr. Gutierrez?

Search engines are your friend.

http://www.commerce.gov/bios/Gutierrez_bio.htm

Phone:
202-482-2000

Email:
CGutierrez@doc.gov

I made sure to include the phone number just in case someone feels like calling.
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post #20 of 26 Old 06-30-2008, 06:25 PM
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If their new brand of cereal doesn't make it to market, my digestive system doesn't stop working six months after their coupon expired.
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post #21 of 26 Old 07-01-2008, 06:35 PM
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aaaaaaa shouldn't all the coupons have expired on a certain day in February of 2009?
What is with the 90 days? Clearly Feb 2009 should have been when all these expired

I guess Larry and Curly didn't think to bring that up with Moe.
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post #22 of 26 Old 07-01-2008, 06:43 PM
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Not to be too political, but I heard it was a Bush Administration thing that the 90 days was put in there.
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post #23 of 26 Old 07-01-2008, 07:58 PM
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I work in a large Sears store electronics dept., in a somewhat depressed neighborhood and would like to offer a reality check.

The average person who needs one of these boxes doesn't care if it has an S video output, what kind of guide data it uses, or any of the many factors one of us would use in deciding which box to buy.

Our average box customer has expiring coupons in hand and can't get any box at all with little prospect of finding one before their coupon expires, never mind waiting for one with whatever feature one of us might require.

These are primarily elderly or impoverished people for whom even the $49 dollar boxes are a real economic consideration. Those lucky enough to have cars and not be riding the bus to the store can't afford to drive all over town in a vain search for these boxes.

Many of these folks' only source of entertainment and news is an old analog tv hooked to an antenna. The coupon would seem to be a godsend for these people but they are screwed by this stupid expiration date.

Did it not occur to the administrators of this coupon scheme to find out just what the available supply of boxes at retail was going to be before this expiration date was decided upon?

I suspect that nobody in this agency took into account the fact that human nature would lead many to request coupons and buy boxes who don't need them in the first place but just want a "freebie", thus making it doubly difficult for those who really do need them?

Yesterday one desperate elderly customer who'd spent weeks looking for a $49 box with no success ended up cashing her stimulus check at our store in exchange for gift cards worth 10% over the amount of the check and purchasing a new tv with atsc tuner. Instead of getting a box for a net cost of $13.98 ($49 less coupon plus tax) she ended up having to wipe out her entire $300 stimulus check.

I have no doubt that the expiration date does have something to do with the current administration trying to appeal to the "let 'em eat cake" neo-con mentality, but it just ends up punishing those who really are in need, just as so many ill-concieved programs from the other side of the political spectrum have in the past.

Using the cereal coupon analogy is a perfect example of just how out of touch these elitists, both on the left and on the right, really are.

SHAME ON MR. GUITERREZ!

Steve S.
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post #24 of 26 Old 07-02-2008, 12:21 AM
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The more I think about this quote from Gutierrez:

"I had experience in couponing given my previous background in the cereal business [Kellogg]: 90 days is pretty much the expiration you have on most coupons," he told C-SPAN in an interview for its The Communicators series. "It's long enough to give consumers a chance to think about when they are going to buy and what they are going to buy, but it's short enough to force a decision.”

the madder I get. Today I called every retailer within 25 miles of my home and found only 2 with boxes, about a dozen total between them. Of those 2, one had only non-pass through boxes - not an option for anyone here as more stations are staying analog than are converting. The other one had the Philco which is difficult to use if you're somewhat tech orientated, and impossible for the elderly.

Gutierrez needs to get a clue. He needs to try to find these boxes outside of major metropolitan areas. He needs to make a decision and then try to get the one he wants.

In addition to writing directly to Gutierrez at the link above, use this link:
http://www.votesmart.org/

to find how to contact your representatives. Put in your zip code and it will give you links to each of your congressmen.

Write to them and ask them what to do after you've made your decision and can't find the one you want. Copy the above quote from Gutierrez. Tell them what you think of clueless government officials.
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post #25 of 26 Old 07-02-2008, 12:50 PM
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This afternoon the expired coupon statistics, updated through 6/30/08, are posted here:

https://www.dtv2009.gov/Stats.aspx

2,244,589 coupons have expired without being used. This represents lost value of $89,783,560 to those holding expired coupons.

Statistics updated to 7/8/08 show 2,932,958 coupons have expired without being used. This represents lost value of $117,932,958 to those holding expired coupons.

"A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME WILL SMELL AS SWEET. BUT IT DOES NOT FOLLOW THAT WHATEVER WE CHOOSE TO CALL A ROSE WILL POSSESS THE ROSE'S FRAGRANCE."

--Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield (1917)
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post #26 of 26 Old 07-02-2008, 01:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rec630 View Post

Gutierrez said the expiration date on the $40 DTV-to-analog converter box coupons Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration is handing out should not be extended beyond 90 days, as some in Congress have asked for, likening it to the coupon on, say, a box of Frosted Flakes.

"I had experience in couponing given my previous background in the cereal business [Kellogg]: 90 days is pretty much the expiration you have on most coupons,"...

This is worthy of framing. A moment of zen suitable for the Daily Show. Yep, a sophisticated piece of electronic equipment with RF tuners, demodulators, MPEG-2 decoder, and a lot of software is exactly the same as a box of Frosted Flakes. What next, we get a lawyer running FEMA whose previous job was as Commissioner for the International Arabian Horse Association? Oh, wait...
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