I really should have known better.
And now it’s official: I’m a loser! The only thing missing is Donald Trump declaring it.
I know exactly how these games work. We certainly can’t call them scams since prizes are apparently actually awarded and no one is being tricked into patting their wallet pocket. (I watched that particular scam played out in Barcelona on the Las Ramblas promenade one sunny day.)
And it’s not like the poor people’s tax, the state lottery, where the proceeds at least go to fund education, arts and human services (though I often wonder why most people can’t be bothered to play unless the jackpot is at least $60 million…I’ve actually heard people say “Oh, it’s hardly worth my time unless it’s a really big payout.”)
I think I first got tipped to the nature of this action as a teen when companies like McDonald’s held thinly disguised lotteries which were considered legal because some sort of skill was alleged to be involved.
So when Safeway started hawking their Monopoly bonanza–“Shop, Play, Win!”–I knew it was a fool’s errand. I knew that I could collect hundreds of little promotional product slips, paste them in and undoubtedly come verrrrrry close. But since the key slips are rarer than a successful Trump business venture I also knew that the chances would be one in a million that I’d get, say, N562D. (In fact, the odds are more like 1 in 450 million for the grand prize.) I don’t know what the odds are for the minor prizes like $50 grocery card but when I heard a guy list the various rare tiles, I found that every single missing tile on my board was rare — basically one tile per “property.”
Nevertheless, I allowed myself to get hooked.
And the world looks just the same
And history ain’t changed*
I guess there’s little harm in trying these things out every once in a while. It’s not like I’m subsidizing a pet psychic, homeopathic diabetes cure or televangelist’s miracle water scam.
In fact, there’s a certain calming effect in knowing that since Safeway, et al, gave out their last pieces two weeks ago and I’ve pasted in my last tile, I no longer have to chide myself for neglecting my quest to achieve a monopoly.
But it would have been yuuuuge!