M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Tuesday, April 16, 2002  

Last week we got a car key in the mail.

Included with the key was a mailer inviting us to stop by a nearby car dealership and try out the key in a new Oldsmobile Alero (TM). If the key fits the car, we get to drive it home.

The letter claimed that 5,000 similar key/mailer packages had been sent out in our area, which meant we had one chance in 5,000 of winning the car.

I'm sorry, am I supposed to actually believe this? This is clearly some sort of transparent ruse to get bodies into the dealership so some salesperson can glom onto them and not let them leave for a half hour just so they can hear some sales pitch. And in this part of the country, that'll work, because people around here will be so grateful for the chance to lose a free car that they'll feel obligated to hang around and drink bad coffee while being dragged around on a tour of the lot. I imagine the thought of that alone kept people away in droves. Maybe five hundred people actually showed up. That means that the dealer only has a one-in-ten chance of having to give the car away. Multiply that by my one-in-five-thousand chance, and that only gives me a one in fifty thousand chance to win the car. I'm better off playing PowerBall (TM).

In fact, it's entirely possible that the winning key was never sent out. Even if 4,999 people out of the 5,000-member field shows up and nobody wins, they can just say that the five thousandth person would have won if only he or she had come in. Then they can sell the car like they planned to do in the first place, with the added benefit of at least 9,998 people in the area knowing where the dealership is now (I say 9,998 because everyone who comes in would have to bring someone to drive their old car home). It's a no-lose proposition for them. Of course, there's no way that they'll get that level of participation, because there's only a two-day window for the contest, which ended yesterday.

So do you think I had any desire to piss away my lunch break yesterday schlepping out to a car lot in the western suburbs to talk to some unctuous sales guy for the sake of an inifinitesmal chance to win a boring car I don't want or need from people who have no intention of giving it away in the first place?

Damn straight I did.

posted by M. Giant 9:34 AM 0 comments


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