Billionaire coupon collector Bradley Thomas Jr has predicted that the Canadian Tire Dollar could completely collapse within weeks, sending shockwaves throughout the global economy and heralding the beginning of a downturn that would make the recent economic crisis look tame in comparison.
Canadian Tire Money is likely the first loyalty program introduced in Canada in 1958 by Muriel Billes, the wife of Canadian Tire’s co-founder, A.J. Billes. Next to the Canadian Dollar (CDN$) it is the second most important currency in Canada, and is used by over 30 million consumers across Canada.
More than $100 million in Canadian Tire money is distributed every year, driving a secondary Canadian economy. With the pressure from the bad economy, it has hit customers hard, resulting in falling sales and less Canadian Tire dollars being injected into the economy. With less Canadian Tire dollars out there, drastic steps are being taken.
Traveling Canadians have been known to pass off Canadian Tire money as Canada’s legal tender when overseas. Now, Canada's offices abroad including embassies, consulates, high commissions and trade offices are urging traveling Canadians not to give away Canadian Tire money because we need it to sustain the economy at home.
Some charitable organizations accept donations in the form of Canadian Tire money, and are worried that contributions of this kind may dry up if the Canadian Tire Dollar goes under. This could result in thousands of people starving, or unable to buy those stupid hockey team flags that clip onto your car windows.
"But it’s the Canadian Tire Dollar that’s most vulnerable. In real terms, it's already devalued against virtually every currency barring the Zimbabwean dollar and it’s especially exposed over the weeks running up to Home Depot's 20% off sale. In a basket of currencies, the Canadian Tire Dollar is potentially a basket case. And that will put Canada in an extremely bad position for the shakedown." said Thomas.
In Montreal, a grassroots initiative has started, aimed at getting customers back into stores, buying products with cash or debit cards to qualify for Canadian Tire money rewards. If this program is successful, there is talk of the possibility of Tim Hortons (TSE:THI) accepting Canadian Tire dollars in exchange for their Roll Up the Rim to Win program.
Some economists in Ottawa think that the Canadian Tire Dollar is too far gone to rescue, and propose some kind of bailout in an attempt to keep it afloat. Representatives from Canadian Tire Corporation's head office say that without customer purchases, the whole program is at risk, and that any bailout may do the opposite of what it was expected to do - namely devalue the Canadian Tire Dollar to the point where it will no longer be worth the paper it is printed on.