Lucky You

 The following post is an old article of mine I really enjoy reading even today. It has been edited and all names and evidence have been removed to make sense to you today. And yes, it’s a true story. 🙂 
gladstone1You would have thought that in a very small country – like the one I live in –  your chances of winning in competitions, contests or any other event that promises “big prizes” to the contestants are higher than anywhere else, taking into consideration the population statistics.
If you pay attention to the signboards on the road you will be overwhelmed by the big banners of banks, companies, shopping malls, supermarkets advertising their competition rewards to their potential clientele: “Win a House”, Two Convertible Cars for our Big Winners”, “buy this and get your Brand New Ipad”. Then it’s the SMS messages that usually wake you up at one o’clock in the morning on this “Amazing Competition” or that “Answer our Question and Fly to Hawaii” alluring you to take part in a treasure hunt. And you fall for it. But you haven’t seen anyone from your close circle getting anything more than minor gifts and that is if it ever happens, usually once in a blue moon and then all the family cheers on the unexpected luck’s strike that made you win that 10 dinar coffee maker that usually breaks after a couple of uses.
Time after time that you try and try and enter competitions and with no significant wins you really wonder if your luck sucks or whether you are doing something wrong. It just can’t be that some colleague brags about how he won twice a Lexus car not to mention the cash rewards pouring in from time to time, while you haven’t seen a cent out of all these coupons you keep completing with your details… details which the companies use over and over to overflow you with SMS and email communication, sometimes even at 1 o’clock past midnight.
Well think twice. Things are not as they seem and maybe after all there is nothing wrong with your luck but rather with who you know.
I randomly chose a Bank in my city to make a little research on their super prizes winners’ list. The bank had been promoting (lets call it) the “Super” awards for a few years now, where supposedly the “Super” bank account holders automatically get 1 ticket per 50 dinars deposited in their accounts and get eligible to enter for the prize draws held weekly, monthly, quarterly or yearly… In fact they advertise their monthly award as “salary for life” where one winner receives 250,000 dinars. And this is separately from the weekly draws with several winners of 25,000 dinars and 1,000 each.. And that’s a lot of money…
So here is what I discovered: The same winners over and over and over again as if they have signed a contract with the Muse of Luck or better.. they have an agreement with the Bank, or are they Donald Duck’s cousin Gladstone and I don’t know?
I was very interested in knowing who these lucky people really are and how they do it. Did a magic wand simply turned them into princes and princesses of luck? I doubt it. Thinking about it, I get the impression that the bank “owes” them or better “grants” them this kind of money.
And then you find there is inconsistency between the bank’s website winners’ list and the local newspaper’s published one. Those who won twice in the same draw are only mentioned once in the newspaper. Keep quiet media.. it must have only been a “typo”. But it wasn’t.
Digging further you bump on to another draw of two persons with the same surname and initials – what seems to be brothers – winning BD 25,000 each in a single spin of “luck”. I think we made our point, no need to further prove there is something fishy in the story.
Interestingly enough, each draw which is held at the bank’s headquarters is “supervised” by a big company of external auditors and in the presence of bank officials AND state officials to certify “legitimacy”. How come no one has ever noticed that the process keeps rewarding the same people over and over and over? Strange..
“The more you save the more you win!” you will see in the Bank’s website. Utterly Wrong. It should rather be: “The more you have the more you win”. The competition scheme does not reward customer loyalty but wealth instead.
The bank will claim that the more you “save” the more raffle tickets you get, thus the more chances you have in winning their competition.
From the account holder’s point of view it looks like a good incentive to start saving money, although it makes you feel like when you were a little kid and mom and dad were preaching on the importance of economizing pushing you to drop your money pocket in the piggy bank when what you really wanted was to spend that money for a fancy toy.
However, from the bank’s point of view it’s superb! Imagine all this money in their safes… Where does it go? Does it just sit there? Money makes the world go round, and money is a bank’s major product. Banks sell money. That is YOUR money they sell. So your money is either invested or given to someone else as a loan where the bank of course will get its share from the lender. So banks use YOUR money to get THEIR money doubled or tripled and so on and so on. If a bank is able to award each month 750,000 BD in cash prizes to their customers, imagine the profits of this bank.
But wait a minute… Supposedly the bank should award all the people who entrust their fortune to them, sort of a thank you. Right? Interest rates are peanuts today and therefore here comes the “competition”.
Needless to say, the concept of the specific competition doesn’t look fair. Imagine someone having 1,000,000 BD deposited in his bank account that will bring him in each draw.. hmmmm 20,000 raffle tickets, whereas someone with 1,000 BD in the account will only get 20 tickets… Who has the more chances in winning this competition? Is this fair? Rewarding the wealthy? ?? I don’t’ think it would make any much difference if you had given the wealthy that extra 1000!
In the bank’s website there is a disclaimer: “In order to provide a balanced participation structure in the draw, maximum draw chances per customer is capped at 10,000 chances”
Let me laugh out loud here. It’s obvious you can overrule that. If I were rich would I only hold ONE account? What if I had 5 children? I would create 5 accounts and one for my wife. And let that poor Asian expat dream of winning with the 500 dinars he has saved over the last decade… (here goes the satanic laughter).
Then again, shouldn’t there be a clause like i.e. once you win an amount you are not allowed to reenter the competition for an x period of time so you could give other people the chance of winning too? That would keep all clients satisfied in one way or another if we finally get to believe that the system they have to process the draw “randomly” and “by chance” selects the winners, which certainly seems not to be the case.
It can’t get any clearer than that and companies, organizations, even governmental entities do it all the time: reserve the best for themselves and their courtyard. And while I want to believe that we live in meritocracy, while I want to believe that luck is blind and might hit me as well, while I want to dream on my little cloud that I will be spared the chance to try my luck, nepotism and cronyism seem to invade even in my DREAMLAND, destroy every dream I have, destroy my chances, demolish my luck.
Above all what I really hate more is how shamelessly and ruthlessly they just make fun of me right in front of my face. But now I know them. And this time it is me who won’t be sparing them.


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