Well hush my mouth, I won a prize!!

So I buy myself a magazine and take it back to the office to read, and about twenty leaflets fall out of it, and one of them is a marvellous free competition. All I have to do is rub off one of these little silver panels, and if I find three matching symbols under it, I have won a prize! Okay, let’s get a coin…

rub, rub, rub

Darn. nothing. Oh, wait, I get another go! Here we go then…

rub, rub, rub

Wow, three little poorly-drawn but undeniably matching pictures of aeroplanes! What next? Oh, rub off the next panel…

rub, rub, rub

“Congratulations, you are a prizewinner! Just ring this number to find out what you have won”… and there’s this premium-rate number I have to ring. Erm, read on… “calls cost £1.50 per minute, calls will last 2 minutes 55 seconds, your prize is guaranteed to be worth at least 30 times the cost of the call.”

So what prizes do we have here? A TV, a camcorder, a car, £5000 in cash, a £1000 holiday voucher, a Playstation, a…

Applies brakes

Okay, so these guys are not making any money out of handing out free game tickets and giving away prizes for nothing. So which of these prizes is going to be carefully designed to fulfil the criteria above, and still either (a) turn out to make them money, or (b) be completely not worth the trouble of collecting so that they finish up £4.50 up on the deal, or © a combination of the two rolled into one? Hmm, I wonder :rolleyes:

Question: Has anyone ever rung one of these numbers and not wound up winning a holiday voucher that would cost more to collect than it was worth? Supplementary: has anyone ever rubbed off the panels and not found that they’ve won a prize?

It really, really depresses me that these people make money out of this shit.

I have won so many free cruises and vacations… I could retire and be cared for for the rest of my days!! Except that my free cruises and vacations would cost too much :frowning:

Scam scam scam scam… it sucks.

I would guess that what you have there is an opportunity to claim the £1000 holiday voucher-- the “£1000” part being an arbitrary assignationof value for the experience of being corralled with a bunch of other sucke-- err, “winners,” and given a lengthy pitch for a time-share condominium scheme. That’s the standard scenario, anyway.

When I was living in Berkeley, I won a 3-day ocean cruise because I went to listen to a company’s time-share sales pitch. The cruise left from San Diego, which is about an eight-hour drive away…

Also bear in mind that the vast majority of people are not going to bother scratching off those numbers, so what they’re giving away can be worth a bit more than 4.50 and still make a profit.

You know, I could have sworn I read your post.


Here’s a little article about this scam by way of an apology for my poor reading comprehension.

Hmmm. I ‘won’ on one of these scratchies that was inserted in a computer magazine a couple of years ago, but the prize was only valid for UK residents, and nor could I access the phone number to check whether it would have been worth investigating! The symbols I rubbed off were $ (or pounds actually) and one of the prizes was $50,000.00 (plus the other ones mentioned above…no holiday voucher though) so I thought it might be quite legitimate.

If there’s no vacation voucher, the booby prize is usually some item of jewelry that’s described attractively but is actually a plastic piece of junk worth 50 cents. (Just pay $19.95 for “shipping, handling, and insurance”.) Or a “$500 gift certificate” which is good only on items in their catalogue, all of which have a list price ten times what you could find at the local mall.

. . . or occasionally it’s a camera or set of binoculars made of the cheapest, flimsiest possible plastic, held together with Elmer’s Glue and guaranteed to break should you actually try to use it.

I bought a set of luggage through one of those “prize clearinghouse” places with one of the “prize vouchers” that I “won.” Decent luggage, decent price, worth the investment IMHO. Of course I’m on their mailing list until the end of the universe but I get a slight kick out of looking through their mailings at all the patchwork leather coats, stainless steel flatware and “computers with genuine Pentium chips!”

You…um…er, won sumthin’, eh?

Well, I er am your long lost worthless cousin Bob. Yeah, that’s it, Cousin Bob.

Can I borrow $800?


Why you no good stingy deadbeat phony cousin! Nice for lucky winners like you to win a prize, but do you share it with your kin? (grumble grumble grumble)

See, you could stop your rant right there, and I’d already be with you. Years ago, there was a Fry and Laurie sketch wherein the skinny one (Fry?) was grimly going through a pile of magazines. “Here we have a copy of Woman’s Own…” [shakes magazine so that inserts fall out] “…and the Radio Times…” [more inserts] “…and The Face…” Repeats until the floor is awash with inserts. “And now, we’re going to find the person who first had the idea of putting inserts in magazines…” [cocks rifle]

Well, they’re both skinny. One is less tall than the other.

Stephen Fry is the taller, broader, more intellectual one, and Hugh Laurie is the less tall, thinner, dopier looking one.

Dammit, Marjorie.

Actually, these days Stephen Fry is somewhat podgy.

No more so than me, mind.


That’s because he was paaaaaassed the maaaaarmalade.

Huh. Well, it was probably Laurie, then.

Coz, I’m ashamed of myself. Sanguis crassior est quam aquam. Wire me five bucks for P&P and I’ll mail you my next winning ticket. Wire me fifty and I’ll mail you the next twenty. Can I say fairer than that? :smiley:

Years ago, my husband answered the phone and was informed he’d “won” a Bahamas cruise. The call came on his birthday, so he was all excited. I hated to tinkle in his cornflakes but I suggested it might not be what he thought it was. When the paperwork arrived, it was obvious that it was a scam. Not a pleasant learning experience for him.

Just last week, there was a message on my answering machine saying I’d won a big screen TV in a drawing. But I hadn’t entered any drawing. And the message was a recording that said something about having to contact 200 people or some such nonsense. I erased it before it finished.

You don’t get nothing for nothing. Period.