I Could Be Their Next Winner!

   Posted by: Michael Bernier   in Today's Reality, Yesterday's Memories

Do you ever enter sweepstakes or contests? You know, the kind where you have a one-in-ten-zillion chance of winning but you do it anyway?

In my after-college years before the Internet became a part of daily life, I used to get tons of junk mail in my mailbox, mostly from companies that were trying to give away something, whether it was cash or some piece of merchandise – cars, boats, vacation trips, and electronics were the most popular items. All you had to do was fill out their forms and mail them back in, and “you could be the next winner!”

What is lost on a lot of people is the fact that these companies are not in the business of giving things away for nothing. There’s always a catch somewhere, whether it’s to get you on their mailing list (which they often sell to someone else), or they have a particular product they want you to buy. Case in point: perhaps the most infamous giveaways of all are the ones from Publisher’s Clearing House, or PCH as some like to call them. This part gets lost in all the advertising they mail out by the ton, but PCH is actually in the business of selling magazine subscriptions. Back in those pre-Internet days I used to subscribe to several magazines, and found PCH often offered them at very good discounts. It seemed like a good fit for me at the time, and as long as I didn’t stray away from that group of magazines, I could enter their contests and everything worked out okay. Once I got married, family life took the place of magazines, and one by one I let them all lapse. Of course, the mail didn’t stop; once you’re on their mailing lists, you pretty much have to die to get off of them…and even then it’s not certain. For a couple of years after my dad died in 1988, we continued to get contest mailers addressed to him.

These days these contests have mostly moved online, but their purposes haven’t changed. The companies are still trying to sell products, and use the contests to bring in potential new customers.

After many years of avoiding all the contests and sweeps, both in the mail and online, I finally succumbed a couple of months ago when the prizes were too good for me personally to pass up. I’ve mentioned in earlier posts that I like to collect wristwatches, and I’ve found two online stores that offer weekly contests to give away a free watch. All I have to do is re-register on their site each week, which puts me on their e-mail list to receive their advertising and special offers (something I was already doing anyway). That’s not as bad as having a mailbox filled with paper that gets thrown in the trash; and, if need be, I can simply delete the e-mails as they come in.

I haven’t won a free watch yet, but who knows? There’s always the chance that “I could be their next winner!”

Tags: , , ,

This entry was posted on Monday, June 14th, 2010 at 11:16 pm and is filed under Today's Reality, Yesterday's Memories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a reply

Name (*)
Mail (will not be published) (*)