Kramer/Newman Can Scam Hits Maine
A memorable “Seinfeld” episode features Kramer and Newman taking thousands of cans and bottles to Michigan so they can get a nickel more per container than they would in New York, but beverage distributors say there’s nothing funny when it happens for real.
In Maine, which has a more expansive bottle-redemption law than neighboring states, three people have been accused of illegally cashing in more than 100,000 out-of-state bottles and cans for deposits, the first time criminal charges have been filed in the state over bottle-refund fraud, a prosecutor said.
A couple that runs a Maine redemption center and a Massachusetts man were indicted this week for allegedly redeeming beverage containers in Maine that were bought in other states.
Thomas and Megan Woodard, who run Green Bee Redemption in Kittery, face the more serious charge of allegedly passing off more than 100,000 out-of-state containers – with a value of more than $10,000 – as if they had been purchased in Maine.
Apparently its a big problem and distributors lose millions every year. But this is really about life imitating “art”. The Seinfeld episode:
In the 1996 “Seinfeld” episode, Kramer and Newman hatch a plan to drive a truckload of cans and bottles to Michigan, because the redemption fee there was 10 cents, double New York’s nickel deposit.
Kramer laments it can’t be done. “You overload your inventory and you blow your margins on gasoline,” he says at one point. But Newman offers up free space in a mail truck he has to drive to Michigan before Mother’s Day – “the mother of all mail days,” he calls it – and the pair head off. (They end up aborting the trip while chasing down Jerry’s stolen Saab.)
Incidentally, I’ve got family in Maine if anyone’s interested and has a mail truck…