Coupon usage among U.S. consumers has increased since the recession hit, with redemptions up 27% last year. Groupon and similar electronic coupons may be all the rage among younger, more affluent users, but paper coupons continue to be the most popular overall. From a business standpoint, do coupons really work? Author Lauren Weber says the first coupons were published by Asa Candler in 1887 to promote an unknown new soft drink that became the behemoth known as Coca-Cola.

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