The Collect-Trash-for-Charity Hoax
Schoolchildren in Gloucester, England were fooled by a hoax, versions of which have been around for decades. They received an email message telling them that if they collected 3 kilograms of empty Walker chips packages, then Walker Chips would pay for the treatment of a child born without an arm. The kids collected all the packages of chips, only to learn that Walker Chips had never made such an offer. Like I said, versions of this hoax have happened many times before. They often involve the collection of bottle caps, empty boxes of matches, or other junk, all, so it is said, to support some good cause. Curtis MacDougall, in his classic study of hoaxes, records an example of this cruel practical joke occurring in the 1930s. I'm surprised that the school administrators in Gloucester weren't clued into this scam.
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