Fred Simpson's wife thought he was crazy, but he had the last laugh after he sent in a Jones Dairy Farm coupon for a pancake breakfast that he found in a 1935 magazine.
Noticing there was no expiration date on the coupon in the 61-year-old Fortune magazine he found at an antique store, Simpson mailed the coupon and a dollar bill to the Fort Atkinson, Wis., company.Four days later, a delivery truck pulled up to the couple's Florida home and dropped off a package containing breakfast sausage, pancake mix and a jug of pure maple syrup. The 1996 value of the breakfast package: $29.95 plus shipping.
"I thought he was wasting a stamp, and when it came I was yelling bloody murder," Maggie Simpson said in a phone interview from their home near Jacksonville, Fla. "I said `Fred, you aren't going to believe this.' It's just been wild. Who would think anybody would honor an ad that old?"
The coupon caused quite a stir at company, too.
"There was some discussion, and we're like, `Let's go, let's redeem it, it's still good,"' said Phil Kafarakis, vice president of sales and marketing for the Jones Dairy Farm.
Kafarakis said the 107-year-old company advertised primarily through magazines back in the 1930s. When customers sent in coupons for the breakfast packages, the company kept their names and addresses and built up a database. Jones Dairy Farm still does that through its direct-mail catalogs, although the system is more high-tech. The company now has a page on the World Wide Web.
"But obviously that was great advertising that still works today. We were just tickled pink to hear from them," Kafarakis said. "If anyone is going through old magazines and sees one of our coupons, we'll redeem it."
Simpson, a retired civilian auditor for the U.S. Navy, said he likes to collect antiques and often browses through antique shops. He buys old magazines, tears out the ads, binds them in plastic and mounts them for sale at collectibles shows.
"I saw the ad and I told my wife this is still good. She said `Are you crazy?' but I said `There's no expiration date,"' Simpson recalled.
"I've never done that before. It was staring me in the face and it was a special $1 offer and I thought `Why not?"' he said.
The ad features a drawing of the Jones farm, which is still on the Jones Dairy Farm logo, as well as a pig holding a megaphone, trumpeting the special breakfast offer.
"There's a good corn crop in southern Wisconsin this fall. There's been milk aplenty. All summer the pastures have been lush and green," the ad reads.
It ends with: "The wheels in the sausage kitchen are beginning to turn. Choice young porkers from neighboring farms - home grown sage, pure spices . . . that's the formula. Jones sausage is ready."
Jones Dairy Farm still sells breakfast packages of sausage, bacon, pancake mix and syrup, although the prices now range from $29.95 to $49.95. In a letter to the Simpsons, Edward Baker, national sales manager, noted that the company still processes "choice young porkers from nearby farms" with the same natural spices.
Mrs. Simpson was thrilled to get the half-pint jug of Wisconsin pure maple syrup, which she said is difficult to find in Florida.
The couple hasn't eaten the breakfast yet. But Mrs. Simpson's 68-member quilt guild found out about it and "they all said they were going to come over for breakfast. I don't have that much pancake mix."