Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Three Gold Coins

Last weekend I received a flyer in the mail from a local car dealership advertising a sale they were having.  But this wasn't just any flyer.  This flyer came with a key and a lottery.  There were three different scratch-able columns on the back and if one of column's numbers matched the group of bold numbers above it, then you won.  Shockingly, (although, as I was to find out later, not so shockingly) my second column of numbers matched!!  I opened up my flyer to see my prize options:

1. $25,000****
2. 2011 Toyota Camry***
3. $100**
4. Three Gold Coins*

I needed to go down to the car dealership sale to claim my prize.  Obviously this was just a ploy to get me to come and buy a new car, and every prize had an asterisk next to it.  So what?  I had won!  In all of my excitement, I didn't bother to read the fine print, but if I did, I'm sure it would have translated to something like this:

****Nah, this prize isn't real.
***Good luck with that.
**1 in 45,000 people win this (direct quote)
*And by Gold we mean Brass

It was only 6 o'clock on a Friday, I was fresh off of work and didn't have anything going on until later in the evening, so I thought it was the perfect time to collect my winnings.  Sure, my odds weren't great, but maybe I was the only person who would go claim their prize so they would have to give me the big prize by default.  Regardless, they owed me something.  I drug my friend, Margaret, along, and we headed towards the mall, where this dealership had temporarily camped out in the parking lot.  We walked up to the deserted tent and were greeted by a downtrodden girl with the voice/personality of Daria.

Daria: How may I help you?  Are you interested in buying a car today?

Me: (I wanted to play it cool.  There was no way I could let her know that we had driven all the way there in the hopes of attaining random scam mail lottery glory.) Um, yeah, we were...uh...chilling at the mall and then I remembered that I got this random thing in the mail and decided to come over here and claim my prize.

It was the least-cool thing I could have said.  "I was watching Star Trek alone in my room and decided to get out of the house" would have probably sounded better.  Telling her about my fake adventures at the mall on a Friday night led her to ask me if I was 16.  No wonder.

Daria: Do you go to the University?
Me: We did.  We already graduated
Daria: Oh.  Well, actually, I thought you were in High School.  Don't worry, though, I get that all the time.  Everyone always thinks I'm 16, but I'm actually in my twenties.  We'll appreciate it once we're older.
Me: Yeah, I'm also in my twenties...

I had suddenly lost interest.  I shoved my lottery flyer and accompanying key in Daria's face, as if to say, Let's get this over with, give me my shiz so I can go home.

Daria escorted me over to a car.  Alright, you can try your key to see if it fits.  But I doubt it will.

How encouraging.  I tried to coax my key ever so gently into the keyhole.  I wanted to prove her wrong but I knew it was key looked like a Fischer Price reject.

Defeated, I followed Daria into the tent and over to a Dry-Erase board, displaying a 7-digit code.  If your code matches this one, you win $100, Daria said mechanically.  I had 3 out of the 7 numbers.  I hung my head once again, but Daria seemed slightly encouraged.  I’ve never seen someone have so many matching numbers! She declared with a tone that suggested that she had just been told that her goldfish had died.  This was a step-up for her.

Lastly, she led me over to a table and made me sit down in a rickety folding chair while she fetched a scratcher card for me.  The card had about 20 boxes and I was only allowed to scratch 6 of them.  I had to scratch 6 different pictures of keys to win $25, 000.  The different types of keys were pictured to the side.  I knew that I was probably going to scratch a bunch of the same keys and get confused but I still had a glimmer of hope.  This was it.  My last chance.  For all the marbles (marbz).  I took a deep breath and scratched a box at random.  I unveiled a picture of a pair of scissors.

Crap.  I didn’t see that coming.

So does that mean I’m out already?!! I screamed desperately at Daria.
Yep.  Hold on, let me go get your coins.

While Daria went searching in the depths of the tent, I began feverishly scratching the other boxes to see if there were even any keys on my card.  All I revealed were random pictures of airplanes, flashlights, and batteries.  What was this mind-game?!

That’s when I saw it.  A cardboard box stashed behind a printer.  It was full of “winning” flyers.  So all of the flyers were winners, but they were distributed randomly.  All of my dreams were crushed.

photo cred

Daria returned with three $1 coins with creepy faces of Abe Lincoln giving me the stank-eye on the back.  These weren’t even real gold!!  I was hoping that I could at least do Cash-For-Gold, but nooo.  So this was the consolation prize they gave all the poor suckers who drove all the way up here just for this (or, who happened to be hanging out at the mall and then wandered across the parking lot, like me…)  I was debating in my head if it was worth the gas money to get there to win $3, or if I had actually lost money in the process.

What kind of car do you drive? Daria interrupted my thought-process.
A Mazda Protégé.
Ohh okay.  Daria was clearly judging me.  I wondered what my car said about me.  Probably just that I’m a gullible teeny-bopper who likes to chill at the mall on Friday nights and waste her time claiming meaningless prizes.

I used my “Gold Coins” to buy a giant Slushee from 7-11 the next afternoon.  At least I still have my pride.

photo cred


Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

"She declared with a tone that suggested that she had just been told that her goldfish had died"


Do they expect their patrons to put the $3 down on a brand new car?

Woody said...

That was highly enjoyable! I always wondered how those "winning" car lottery things worked.

JUST ME said...

Car dealerships were invented by the devil to screw people over. USED car dealerships were invented by the Devil's evil twin.

Kate as of Late said...

Same thing happened to me girl! Except we got one gold coin and it wasn't even an Abe with the stink eye. I think it was some other dude that no one knows haha. Congrats on your three and the free slushy! So worth it haha

Sarah said...

What a funny story! I'm cracking up over here. I love that you got a chance to go at least. I'm such a sucker for free things, I would have felt the same way as you - a slushee is a good consolation prize though ;)

Amy said...

haha so sad!! Don't worry,, I am always a sucker for free things too. ;)

alonewithcats said...

I mean, Daria works at a used car dealership. Is she *really* in a position to judge?