The emails started overloading my in-box about six months ago. Now they far outnumber personal correspondence, enticements from Las Vegas hotels, and invitations to “meet single people in your area.”
I’m talking about the bombardment of inquiries from Publisher’s Clearing House. There isn’t a day that goes by without some new correspondence from them. Most days there are two or three letters awaiting my response!
You know Publisher’s Clearing House, or PCH. The advertisements on television advise viewers to “watch your mail,” for a chance to win millions of dollars, or thousands of dollars a week for life. They’re accompanied by film of stunned jackpot winners accepting a large oak-tag check presented by
the ‘Prize Patrol’ at their front door.
Dare to dream of winning the life-changing money. And it’s not even necessary to order any magazines or products to win…really! At least that’s what it says in the small print on the bottom of each e-mail.
The electronic come-ons almost demand your immediate attention with subject lines such as: “Mike, please confirm your initials by July 19:” “Accept or amend decision notice;” “Entry processing:” “Please do not discard this PCH material;” and “Mike, only one restriction left.”
Like a well-trained dog I respond to them all. Therefore I have no one but myself to blame for the proliferation of sweepstakes stuff.
Once you get past the opening page, a gold-emblazoned certificate of authenticity, you move on to messages from advertisers. They’re selling everything from duct tape to Caribbean vacations. One imagines that SOMEONE must be buying stuff, or PCH would have been out of business years ago.
There’s one small hitch in the process with me. At home and at work I use computers that are old and underpowered, respectively. So often when I get past the first ‘certificate’ page, the search engine fails. Up pops a page stating that to continue I need to update my browser – something I have not done. Maybe I’m unwittingly taking myself out of the running.
That doesn’t put an end to the dreams though. I imagine seeing the big grey van with the embossed ‘Publisher’s Clearing House’ on the side pulling into my driveway. Neighbors would peer through their windows and rush outside with curiosity. I’d answer the doorbell (hopefully in something more than a t-shirt and underwear) and scream in delight while accepting balloons, flowers, and the giant check.
I wonder how many times the Prize Patrol goes to the wrong address, or how often someone comes to the door in les-than-acceptable appearance.
“Surprise, Mrs. Stewart! You are the lucky winner of our Publisher’s Clearing House one million dollar grand prize! But, excuse us, let us come back in five minutes when you have clothes on, and maybe you can ditch the cigarette and can of beer. This IS being filmed after all.”
Or, what if the person at the door simply does not believe he or she won.
“I don’t know anything about no dang super jackpot. I’m going to give you 15 seconds to get off my front stoop or I’m reaching for my rifle! You dang people just think you can take advantage of folks. Now get out of here.”
I think we all know the most likely conclusion. I’ll keep accepting e-mails, submitting my entries, not buying any of the products – and it will be a cold day in hell before the Publisher’s Clearing House Prize Patrol van comes anywhere near my front door.
But, just in case the impossible does happen – I’ll keep a comb and a pair of sweatpants at the ready.
About the AuthorIn addition to his musings in our paper, Mike Estrada can be heard weekday mornings from 6am-10am on WTOS-FM 96.7, 101.1, and 105.1. If you’d like to contact him, send an email to email@example.com and we’ll pass along the message.
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