Wednesday, November 29, 2006

What does it mean to win?

Normally, when I find a survey with a cash prize, I rarely think about completing it. True, this one has a prize of $2,500 awarded every month, but I would have passed it up had it not been for something odd. On the receipt, it says “No purchase necessary.” This is a pretty standard condition for most contests.

I wouldn’t have bothered, except that you have get a receipt ID number and a customer number. My first thought is that you do have to make a purchase to get a receipt and, therefore, a receipt ID number. Granted, you could be making a return, but it does seem rather odd.

I decided to call to see what the survey was like. After all, there may be an option to bypass the entry of the two numbers. It turns out that there wasn’t. Not only that, it turns out that some of the questions were about making the purchase. For instance, they wanted to know how many people were ahead of me on line and if anyone opened a new register.

There was nothing to press if I hadn’t been on line. How is it that no purchase is necessary if I have to answer questions about being on line as if I were there? Do they think I’d stand on line just to get a receipt so that I could enter their survey?

This reminds me of a promotion that one of the major credit cards ran several years ago. You may remember it. The deal was that as you did your Christmas shopping, you were entered into a drawing. I don’t remember the date range for the qualifying purchases, but if you won, you got all of your purchases for November and December paid for. Again, part of the small print read, “No purchase necessary.”

If I recall correctly, there was an address to write to as an alternate means of entry. It occurred to me that if you made no purchases during those two months and won, you’d essentially win nothing, as you would have spent noting. I can only assume that there must have been some minimum dollar amount that you’d win. It would suck to make one purchase for $2 and end up winning.

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