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Small bonus in McDonalds Shrek glasses recall: $3 refund for $2 glass

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Paul Sakuma/AP Photo

(Read caption) The McDonalds Shrek glasses recall was announced June 4 after tests showed the glasses, like this one, contained cadmium in the painted design. Starting in May, McDonalds sold the glasses for as low as $2 apiece. On Tuesday, it announced it would refund customers $3 for each glass they brought back.

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Starting on Wednesday, customers who bought the recalled Shrek glasses from McDonalds can return the collectibles to restaurant locations nationwide.

And, unlike most recalls, they may show a small profit for the extra time and hassle of taking the glasses back – up to $1 a glass.

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Starting in May, customers could buy four versions of the glasses, decorated with pictures of Shrek, Fiona, Puss n’ Boots, and Donkey, for $2.50 apiece. If they bought a McDonalds meal, each glass cost only $2.

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On Tuesday, the company announced it would refund all customers $3 for each glass, which were recalled because they contained a toxic chemical. The extra money is to account for sales tax, according to a company spokeswoman.

Even in a high-tax state like California, however, that adds only 22 cents or less to the tab (taking local taxes into account). So if customers bought a meal and a glass at the same time, they could reap a profit of at least 78 cents per glass.

That's no windfall. And most or all of it will be eaten up by the gas people use driving back to McDonalds. Still, how many times do you get a little extra from a recall?

Roy Phillips, an administrator with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which handles recalls, has only seen it once or twice. McDonalds is concerned with "providing good customer service and wants to get every [glass] back," he said.

McDonalds announced June 4 that it was voluntarily recalling some 12 million of the promotional drinking glasses after traces of cadmium, a toxic chemical, was detected in paint used on the exterior of the glasses. The items were made in the United States.

Working with the CPSC, McDonald’s recalled the glasses “in an abundance of caution” after the cadmium traces were discovered. Rep. Jackie Speier (D) of California alerted the CPSC of the potential risk after being tipped off by an anonymous caller. Before they were distributed, the glasses were found to meet federal and state safety requirements.

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For more information about the recall visit the company's recall website.