Global Fastener News

1998 FIN – Construction Washers Fool Parking Meters

May 17
00:00 2011

August 28, 1998 FIN – Montreal hardware stores reported a rush on construction washers after word spread that the washers can be used to feed parking meters.

Officials of two washer manufacturers, Uscan Industrial Fasteners Ltd. and Reliable Fasteners Inc. have agreed to restrict who buys washers.

“We’re going to be selective [about who we sell to],” Uscan president Fred Galardo told the Toronto Star.

The three-cent washers work as a substitution for the legal “loonie” parking meter coins in about one-third of Montreal’s parking meters.

“We generally sell about 16,000 a month,” hardware store manager Michael Boucher told Sandro Contenta of the Star. “There are people who come in here and buy whole cases. Guys in suits come in and buy pounds and pounds of them-and you know they don’t work in construction.”

Some customers are so bold that they just come in and ask, “Where are the washers fro the parking meters?” Boucher said.

Now he keeps a box of 4,000 washers next to a scale and sells them as $5 a pound.

Montreal councilor in charge of transportation Pierre Yves Melancon said the frauds costs about 10% of the $19 million annual parking meter revenue. Toronto city officials said they lose about $5,000 a year out of $8 million in revenue.

Montreal investigators have caught 30 alleged washer users this year, and charges are pending. ©1998/2011 Fastener Industry News


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