CiCi’s Pizza, the $5 buffet chain, is giving “a penny saved is a penny earned” a whole new meaning. Its strangely depressing “Penny Picker Upper” campaign involves leaving 1 million pennies affixed with stickers offering coupon deals near each of the 650 restaurants. As noted in The Wall Street Journal , many quick-service restaurant chains—Denny’s, Domino’s and Subway among them—are offering “aggressive promotions” as the industry suffers the fallout of people eating at home more.
While it’s nice that a donation is given to Big Brothers Big Sisters of America after the return of each penny, asking patrons to scrounge for pennies in public won’t help boost consumer optimism. Especially when millions are now searching for real change every day.