Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Whew! That Was Close!

Numerous letters with my name and address with the correct directions to my house arrived at our farm home telling me I might be winning the BIG prize on February 28 from Publishers Clearing House.  It was really worrisome to think how upsetting to our regular routine such an occurrence would be.  But I had already entered and knew I would have to face the consequences.  When the flowers arrived from a Marion florist and the bad news came that my name was drawn, I would learn how capable I was of such a disaster.  I would have to deal with all the people wanting me to share, and no matter how much I would be receiving each week, it would never be enough to take care of everyone’s needs.  How would I handle that?  And how would taxes work on such a problematic occurrence?

On our way to Georgia that dreadful day last Friday, I realized I would not be at home to get my roses from the local florist.  I wondered what those PCH folk who had the directions to my house would do when no one answered the door.  Would they go to the neighbors’ houses and try to find out where I was?  Fortunately I was blessed and evidently did not have my name drawn since  there was no evidence of anyone being at our  door when we crawled up our lane last night through the ice.

A year or so ago, I must have gotten a letter from PCH or somehow something triggered my curiosity and I wondered how those people could give away all that money mentioned in their letter filled with little items for sale.  Without too much thought, I looked through their offerings. I am a sucker for wanting the little products advertised on TV or in the multiple catalogs that clog our mailbox promising to solve some household problem. But I rarely go to the trouble to try and obtain the promised product. Somehow or other I got on the PCH mailing list. Maybe I ordered something  I don’t remember, but I do remember thinking that I would investigate what all this talk of winning huge amounts of money was about. 

Well last year’s winner was drawn and announced I suppose, but I missed out on that news just as I did this year.  Never fear.  I kept getting fat envelopes full of goodies to order and promising that my number would be placed in the mix for winnings that would set me up for a lifetime. I had started saving the envelopes I responded to—usually without ordering anything—so I continued doing that in 2013  for my little research project.  This morning I counted the envelopes in that little box in the garage, and it looks as if I may have spent a little over $20 in postage playing this lottery. For a non-gambler like me that is a huge amount.

I am sorry for all the trees killed by all the slick paper in those envelopes sent to our house.  Despite my intrigue with the products offered, at first I did not order anything because I interpreted the $2.99 and $3.99 installments as the only way to pay—and I am not good about handling bills through the mail. (I love the convenience of having bills sent directly to our bank account without my having to waste a bit of ink, time, or postage.)  However, when I finally placed an order, I found out I could just pay it all at once instead of installments—and that was a relief. 

So I have ordered three or four times during this time of trying to understand how PCH can offer such huge prizes, and I guess other letter recipients have also ordered enough to keep these huge winning opportunity going.  Before last Friday night, I had already gotten a letter telling me I might win in March!!  Now I am curious how long the winning will go on, but I have grown bored with trying to find out,.

One product I ordered was a set of  pretty little glass bowls that can be put in the microwave directly from the fridge to reheat left-overs.  I already had some heavier such bowls, but they were plain without decoration, and I truly have enjoyed the pretty little flowers and the flat lids that go on easily on these. But I do not think I ordered enough items to pay for all the expensive paper sent my way for the last year or so even thought PCH kept telling me I was one of their best customers!  That is why I was offered all kinds of special deals, they said.

I probably might have ordered more but every so often there would be a sentence in the letter trying to guilt me into supporting PCH by placing an order.  That would anger me enough I would vow to never order anything again.  I could just imagine some sweet little soul ordering because they felt sorry for PCH.  Although every letter would assure me that I did not have to order to win, often times there would be complicated sentences that confused me about that.  And I was dumb enough to often think that the letter writer meant I had to keep returning entries in order to win anything.  Finally I decided each letter had a different number and were independent entries to their drawing.  I am still not positive what some instructions mean, but think I entered each time I used their reply envelope.

One reason besides curiosity that I have hung in so long was the letters have offered a mild diversion in life.  When I would come in from my daughter’s after midnight, I would need to relax a bit before going to bed but would be too tired to think much.  So I could open the letter and play the little games inside.  I could use a fingernail to rub off gold squares to find out what I might win in smaller drawings.  And I could look though all those pages of products and find the little squares with glue on the back to tear our and place on an entry paper.  I found these required little brain power but kept me entertained (or brain deadened however you want to see it) as I relaxed before bed.  I was impressed with the employees who had thought these games up and followed through with correct items inside to glue on the return piece of paper.  I was glad this provided them jobs.

I even learned you can enter online without the need for postage.  Consequently, again because of curiosity, I tried that. Once.  But there were no games—at least not that first time—so I never again read any of the multiple weekly emails sent to me from that source.  Oh dear—just what I needed more junk email to delete without reading.  I must figure out how to stop these, but have not made that effort yet.  I also want to stop the waste of letters coming to the house since I am through playing their little games.  (I can imagine if I get increasingly disabled for running around and real shopping that I might someday appreciate having something in my mailbox to relieve loneliness and offer me opportunity to shop for gifts and needed stuff.  So I may someday want to engage with PCH again and risk winning a huge amount of life-altering money,)

But for now, my curiosity has been quenched, and I am relieved to have not been burdened with winning.  Besides the neat little flat lids on the pretty left-over containers, I did get another reward last week.   Briefly turning on Book Notes, I saw part of a l0-year-old recorded interview with Liz Carpenter.  Evidently she had written a book about having some children of a niece or nephew unexpectedly come to her to raise.  Needing more funds for such an unprepared endeavor, she had enjoyed day dreaming about winning a PCH sweepstakes.  As she described scrambling to find and paste the little objects for the entry forms, I knew exactly what she was talking about. Not only did I find out about another book I would like to read, but  I felt very in-the-know as to what this national effort at selling small items with installment opportunities is all about. 

I cannot understand the Internet and all the products and apps associated with it, and I know I am hopelessly out-of-date in this 21st Century.  However,  I now know if you send out enough letters to enough people, you can evidently sell sufficiently to support extravagant give-aways to unlucky winners.  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very entertaining, Sue. Thanks for posting!
Love, Tossie