Merchandise coupon

Blurry but what is in the photo below was my first and last merchandise coupon issued by the Taiwanese government to stimulate the sagging economy. One of my Taiwanese friends paid me something back by the ticket, which ultimately went to another friend of mine.

Sadly but reasonably, they excluded foreigners like us from the recipients. I have paid my tax; Well, as long as Taiwan keeps the super-excellent health care system intact, we don't have much to complain. (fixing a cavity cost me NT $300 = US $10 at the dentist. They gave me a set of free tooth brushes and a mouthwash. The scary part is, I am not making this up).

For a while every shop, restaurant, and hotel offered special sales associated with the coupon. The "Buy one, get one free" was replaced by "Use NT $3,600, get another $3,600 free." (NT$3,600 was the amount allotted to each recipient). The question is, did it really stimulate the economy as expected? I am not sure. It certainly is a wiser option than merely spreading money to local governments (to gain loyalty from the voters rather than to offer them real benefit) like one of Taiwan's neighbor countries did(sorry no English link found). What I am really sure is that it did boost the printing and advertising industry.

The finger reveals how tiny the actual coupon is, compared to ordinary bills. It almost looks and feels like something out of a special edition of Monopoly.