You probably did too. Unless…you’re returning your entry into the Publishers’ Clearinghouse Bureau Sweepstakes.
I suspect the return rate on the PCB Sweepstakes is a closely guarded secret. As is how many entrants actually purchase something in the misguided hope that entries with purchases go into the drawing while entries without a purchase go into a shredder. But my enquiring mind wants to know!
Based on anectodal “evidence,” I believe the return rate is poor. I don’t know anyone who has returned their entry. At least, no one who will confess to it. Apparently, there is a social stigma to admitting you returned a PCB Sweepstakes entry.
In fact, I can’t even find anyone to admit they at least opened the envelope. C’mon now, what happened to intellectual curiosity? Well…at least curiosity? I opened the envelope and found a piece of very…interesting…information.
So why am I not returning my entry? (Besides the aforementioned social stigma?) Because of the math…
It may cost just 44 cents for a chance to win $1,000,000 a year for life, but not all chances are equal. If you won’t go to a casino and place a bet at the roulette table on red (or black) or even (or odd), wagers which offer a 50-50 chance of winning, then you definitely do not want to wager 44 cents with PCB’s Sweepstakes. Because…
Your “chance” of winning is one in 1.2…billion. That’s right – billion.
How do I know that? Because that’s what PCB says it is in the fine print and I’m one of those folks who likes to read the fine print. After all, the fine print is how they…bugger…you. (That choice of terminology is for my many UK readers.) Buggery is not a crime when it happens through the fine print.
What I found particularly…interesting…about that math is this math: the 2010 census reports there’s only about 310 million people in the U.S. OK, the Census undoubtedly missed many folks: survivalists living underground, illegal aliens (Klingons, Romulans, Vulcans, etc.), anarchists, Michelle Bachman supporters, and Utah polygamists living behind walled compounds, to name a few.
Let’s be ultra-conservative (just this once) and allow that the Census missed 25% of the population and that it is really 400 million. How is it that your chance of winning the PCB Sweepstakes is 1.2 billion to one? That suggests there are three times as many numbers as there are people in the country!
Now wait a minute…! I only received one entry with one number. Did other folks receive more than one entry or number? If so, is it because they ordered the microfiber cleaning towels set for a surprisingly low price plus shipping and handling?
If everyone in the country, including children, received just one number (hey, I just realized – my wife did not receive an entry…at least not yet), then where are the remaining 800 million numbers needed to make the probability of winning 1.2 billion to one? Is PCB sending entries out of the country? How unAmerican that would be!
It’s bad enough that call center jobs are going to people like “Peggy.” We don’t need some destitute Third World furriner winning $1,000,000 for life, especially when we all know it is paid for by those folks buying the microfiber cleaning towels set at a surprisingly low price plus shipping and handling. Or is PCB allowed to create 1.2 billion numbers but only mail out less than a quarter of them? Enquiring minds want to know!
Potentially, this scheme is worse than Madoff’s. Most of his victims had millions and were just being greedy. With PCB, we’re talking about the 99 percenters, many of whom are probably seniors buying the microfiber cleaning towels set at a surprisingly low price plus shipping and handling in hopes of winning that sweepstakes so they can stop eating dog food, despite Herman Cain’s pronouncement that if you’re poor and/or unemployed it’s probably your own fault.
Fortunately, we now have a new consumer protection agency, born of the financial meltdown, which I’m sure is investigating PCB’s fuzzy math. And maybe, just maybe, all of those folks who bought the microfiber towel sets at a surprisingly low price plus shipping and handling will get a refund. (They may have to wait a few years, just as I did before collecting $18.04 from the credit card foreign currency conversion fee litigation which began in November 2007 and which I finally received a few weeks ago. )
Please complete my PCB Sweepstakes poll!