Friday, July 12, 2013


A couple years ago, I lost my way and ended up in the forest called Publishers Clearing House.  Out of curiosity, rather than turning back I continued into the forest to learn what it was all about.  What I learned only frustrated me.  The truth about sweepstakes is that winners are few and far between.

TV commercials from the Publishers Clearing House this week caught my attention.  They are selling their "$5000 a week for life" sweepstakes.  It sounds down right altruistic: If you win, you receive $5000 a week for life, and you can choose one other person to receive $5000 a week for life too.  Oh, I can see the "old friends" appearing out of nowhere, as well as current friends rolling their eyes to the ceiling and asking me, "Why do you bother?  You know what the odds are."

What are the odds?  Well, if you go to Publishers Clearing House website and click on either the "Official Rules" or "Sweepstakes Facts" at the bottom of the home page, you'll see a page that tells you to read the official rules and sweepstakes facts when you enter.  Interesting.  They want you hooked before they tell you your chances of winning are astronomically against you. 

What are the odds?  I clicked on "begin" at the Publishers Clearing House to see what would happen.  That click brought me to the entry form for "Giveaway No. 1830" or the $5000 a week for life sweepstakes.  At the top was an "Official Rules" button which I clicked.  Ah, success!  Three pages of rules and facts about playing the sweepstakes.  The odds for Giveaway 1830 are 1 in 1,215,500,000.  That's one Billion two hundred and fifteen million five hundred thousand.  The odds are better playing Powerball. 

For the fun of it, and to see what would happen, I filled out the form and entered the sweepstakes.  The next page was a "free gift" offer, I only had to match three numbers.  Another click took me to a page full, and I mean full, of products for you to buy, if you're so inclined.  However, a purchase will not help you win in the sweepstakes.  So nothing has changed from my previous experience with Publishers Clearing House.

They encourage you to return and enter every day, but you are limited to only one entry per day.  I bet after each entry, there's another page of products they'd like you to buy, some advertised on TV, some not.  It's a clearinghouse, after all.

My previous experience in that forest lasted about a year.  Once early on, I won $2500, but it wasn't cash.   They sent me coupons that added up to $2500 for things like watches and cameras.  The kicker was that no one coupon covered the entire cost for the product it was for.  I'd need to send more money with the coupon in order to receive the product.  Well, let me tell you, that didn't happen!

Sweepstakes are really a lottery.  I find the lottery games far more entertaining, cheap, and with the added pizzazz of the chance of winning something more than a dollar or two.  Cash.  And as I said, the odds are far better with the lottery games.  I have won modest lottery prizes over $100. 

But, you know, $5000 a week for life would be nice.....

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