Tuesday, January 12, 2010

On the Lookout For Ed McMahon and Sure To Be Disappointed

In his senior years my dad fantasized about winning the Publishers Clearing House
big prize. When the mail arrived with the order forms that said you need not buy anything to be a winner, he returned it. He also believed he would have an edge if he did buy something, much to the chagrin of my mother. He bought magazines and books. In spite of contest promotions that your entry was not filed in the circular file if the outside indicated you didn't order a magazine, he felt luckier if he ordered something. The outside of his returned envelope always said "Yes".
Year after year, I have tossed the Publishers Clearing House stuff in the trash.
This year they also have an online contest. Hmmm. You can win in 48hrs. I wouldn't even have to wait until Superbowl Sunday for the prize patrol to show up at my door. I could enter online and get quick results, so I did. It sounded easy enough until I tried it. They have your attention and you must wade through page after page of ads for items that are usually sold on late night infomercials. Stuff you don't need but might buy if your resistance was down. After going through about 5 or 6 pages I thought I had completed the entry. Next a screen came up saying "we noticed you didn't purchase anything". Correct. I didn't want the junk. Next they offered a $5.00 discount on each item and made me go through it again. Because I already invested time, I decided to finish it. At the end it wasn't clear whether I had completed my entry or not. Oh well. The contest only lasts 48 hours, right? Wrong. I started the process last week and get an email daily from PCH everyday announcing I now have another chance to enter. All this is reminiscent of my dad's experience. He actually believed them when they said "you may already be a winner". Next they thanked him for his order and told him the field had been narrowed but he was still in the running. They offered him another chance to buy magazines and stay in the contest. The letter usually listed his name and two or three others and claimed one of them had won a big prize.
I think I am caught in the same trap. Did I mention I will turn 65 next month? I wonder if PCH knows that.
If the real Prize Patrol shows up at my door, I will have Jon answer the door while I delete this blog and act properly grateful and very surprised. I will be shocked if I see Ed McMahon because he is dead. A little Googling also informed me that there are 30+ prize patrol teams in vans out there. Maybe some of them are delivering the magazines.

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