Show Me The Money

Several years ago my wife and I received a mailing from the Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstakes.  It always had a list of magazines to sell and gave us instructions on how to put the sticker of the magazine of our choice in the proper square and put it in the return envelope and send it back to them.

We would order at least one kind of magazine not because we wanted to be the lucky sweepstakes winner but they did have a good selection of magazines for a good price.  We followed the instructions, mailed our entry form along with our subscription back to them only to receive the same mailing about year later.  We got our magazine but we wouldn’t hear from the Publisher’s Clearing House until it was time to order a new magazine or re-subscribe to our old one. 

We noticed that when we did affix our subscription to the entry/order form the return envelope had a little window to show if a magazine subscription was in the envelope.  We began to be suspicious of Publisher Clearing House’s ethics.  Even though they clearly stated that no purchase was necessary to enter the sweepstakes we decided to try an experiment.  Instead of affixing our little subscription in the block so that it could be seen through the window we ordered two magazines and just dropped the little stickers in the envelope.  We concluded that our theory was correct.  If they can’t see your subscription in the window of the return envelope then it was never opened.  How did we come to that conclusion? We didn’t receive anything else from Publishers Clearing House and we also didn’t get our subscriptions.  In my opinion and what I preached to everyone else was that Publisher’s Clearing House is a hoax like a lot of the other sweepstakes that we use to get through the mail. 

My dad used to get all kinds of sweepstake offers through the mail and aside from sending any money or ordering anything he would always fill it out and send it back.  One day he got a phone call from someone who told him he was the  grand prize winner in their sweepstakes and all he needed to do was to send a check or money order for so much money to defray the cost of postage and handling.  He told them just take it out of what he won and send him the rest.  To say the least they hung up on him and never called  back.

Well this year, the first in several years, I received an envelope  full of flyers of products and of course magazine subscriptions from none other than Publisher’s Clearing House.  It also said that if I sent the entry form back by the deadline I would be in the running for their 1 million dollars a year for life sweepstakes.  And as usual it also said no purchase was necessary to enter the sweepstakes and ordering magazines or products from them didn’t increase any chance of winning.  The first thing I looked for was the little window on the return envelope.  Surprisingly the little window only showed my name and address on the outside.  That made me feel a little more at ease about their publicity tactics.  If I did order something then the only way they would get it is if they did open the envelope. 

Another thing that surprised me about Publishers Clearing House, since I haven’t received a mailing from them in years, is that they sell more than magazines now, they sell products.  My wife and I did find something that we might like to have and it was reasonably priced so we ordered it.  And of course  if my product doesn’t come in the mail then it will raise my suspicions again pertaining to their ethics.

My wife asked me what would I do if I did win the grand prize sweepstakes.  I told her I would write a book about my experience with Publishers Clearing House.  How I went from being a skeptic to a believer.  It would not only be a good pay check for the remainder of my life but it would give us an opportunity to travel and see the country and it would also be good publicity for Publishers Clearing House as well.  It would be a win/win situation for everyone. I mean if someone locally announced that they were giving away $1,000,000 dollars as a prize wouldn’t you like to know a winner personally?  We all would, whether we were related to them or just their best friend. Of course that would bring up a whole another issue as well.

It is nice to dream.  Even if I didn’t win this sweepstakes or any other it will never keep me from dreaming.  Besides, someone’s dream comes true all the time, every day.  And one day it will be mine.  But remember, if you are ever a lucky sweepstakes winner or a big lottery winner it was a 16th Century British farmer and writer by the name of Thomas Tusser who popularized the phrase, “A fool and his money are soon parted.”