CBCnews

Edmonton liquor store asks: Cash, credit or Canadian Tire money?

There's a new place to spend that wad of Canadian Tire money you've been saving up — an Edmonton liquor store. But it may not last.

A big sign outside of Liquor International says the store accepts Canadian Tire money at par, in addition to more traditional forms of payment.

"A lot of customers come in and they think we're joking when we say we take Canadian Tire money — and no, we're dead serious," manager Mike Reimer told CBC News.

Canadian Tire money was first introduced as a loyalty reward program in 1958 and the bonus coupons can be used for almost any purchase at the giant retailer.

Reimer said Liquor International began accepting Canadian Tire money about a year ago, adding that the alternative payment method is proving to be very popular.

He said on some days Liquor International takes in $200 worth of the coupons that feature a grinning Sandy McTire. Customers use the coupons to buy beer, whiskey or anything else in the store.

When asked if Liquor International was allowed to accept Canadian Tire money as payment, Reimer said the store had the blessing of the province.

However, the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission says such alternative methods of payment are only allowed if the proceeds go to charity.

"If it's something other than for charity, then it's not allowed," commission spokesperson Robyn Cochrane said.

Staff and management at Liquor International generally use the Canadian Tire money they collect to buy business supplies, although Reimer admits that sometimes the store's owners will buy something a little bigger.

Reimer explained how one of the owners used the coupons to buy a replacement garage door opener and a new barbecue this summer.

Canadian Tire spokesperson Lisa Gibson said she's heard of Canadian Tire money being used for all kinds of things, but this is a first.

"On the one hand [it's] flattering, but on the other hand it sort of wasn't the objective of our loyalty program," she said.

Gibson says it's doubtful the company would try to stop Liquor International from accepting Canadian Tire money. But the liquor outlet could face a warning or fine if the province enforces its rules.