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.
Then you have all these VERY LUCKY PEOPLE (ironically) WINNING IN THE SAME DRAW TWICE!! WHAT A JACKPOT!
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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Red Bull Art of Motion a Greek Win!

“Be better than yesterday, worse than tomorrow”
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Photo: Redbull.gr

 

With this motto there’s no doubt 19 year old Greek free runner Dimitris Kyrsanidis will give us more exciting moments in the future. His performance at Red Bull Art of Motion in Santorini was very impressive and flawless thus secured him the first place in the competition. His tricks wowed the crowd. This boy wasn’t free running – he was simply flying.
Watch here for the best moments of the event. At 00:38 and 01:01 Dimitris Kyrsanidis jumps his magic.Screen Shot 2014-10-05 at 5.54.39 PM
Dimitris Kyrsanidis - Action
Photo: Redbull.gr
Do you know what I loved about Dimitris, besides his immaculate technique and adorable baby face? He seems to have instilled years of Greek values and traditions in a fresh and powerful twist. He’s the new, unconventionally traditional guy, every grandma would love to have as grandson. Before he even started he wasn’t afraid to make the sign of the cross showing respect and trust in his beliefs. He competed exercising the athletic ideal of his ancestors: sport is not just a physical act; It is a complete way of life and it involves mind, spirit, culture, religion, education. It transforms not only your body but your whole being. It’s something more than the art of motion: It’s the art of living. You could clearly see these ideas manifesting in every move of this young man, from congratulating and discussing with his co-athletes to jumping and landing with such a steady force and grace, it was out of this world.
Dimitris welcomed victory in pure modesty. Like an Olympic athlete and at such a young age, he honored his family without even saying a word. They should be really proud of him as his participation in this competition reflected his wonderful upbringing. Congrats DK. Congrats to your family too. We will be following you.
It’s worth watching the full length video below with the Art of Motion semifinals and finals but you may as well just “jump” to 42:30 and 1:35:03 respectively, to admire Dimitris’ performance.

Design and Architecture International Awards: Dimitris Economou

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Paramythi Cafe Bar
Architect and Interior Designer: Dimitris Economou

Winner of 2012 design Hotel and Property Awards in the bar/ club/ lounge category, Architect and Interior Designer Dimitris Economou is award nominee for yet another year, this time for his project “Paramythi Cafe Bar”.  A big fan of his design work which you can see here, I couldn’t but admire this fresh space designed in his distinct style and I have voted for him. I urge you to do the same!

Unlike any other awards, The Design and Architecture International Awards, hosted by design et al magazine (a leading interior design magazine based in the UK), are not judged by a panel. Instead, the projects are presented online and voting is open to everyone. So if you want to vote for Dimitris Economou too, all you have to do is to click on this link and choose Dimitris Economou Interiors in the bar/ club/ lounge category.

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You have to cast your vote for every other category in the Hotel and Property Awards and include your name and email address for your vote to be valid. design et al also offers a complementary  3 month online subscription if you complete all your details in the online form.

“Paramythi” is the greek word for fairytale, so Dimitris Economou Interiors’ project is described as  ‘a playful cafe-bar’ which follows an imaginative storytelling theme with a series of little intrigues and design elements to help generate a sense of intimacy and reignite those childhood magical moments. You can experience this playful atmosphere when you click on the photos.

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Paramythi Cafe Bar
Architect and Interior Designer: Dimitris Economou

A favourite element is the set of swings that greet customers as they enter the cafe bar. They may choose to enjoy coffee or read a book while swinging from their seats, or rest their imaginations upon the wall of vintage books suspended vertically from the ceiling. The selection of materials is a correlation between raw industrial materials with a touch of rustic warmth. Aztec, tribal patterns in fancy table printings, fill the upper level adding a splash of color and life to the space. Dimitris Economou used his cut out wood furniture in chevrons and ovals to provide both functionality and an elegant touch.

Dimitris Economou Interiors’ projects include big names of the food and entertainment industry like Hard Rock Cafe, Haagen Dazs or even the “m ultra lounge” of Grammy-winning  Dj and producer David Morales. “m ultra lounge” in Mykonos island was the winning project for the Hotel and Property Awards in 2012. I so love the vibrant colors and fell in love with the idea of the red chain curtains!

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“m ultra lounge”
Architect and Interior Designer: Dimitris Economou
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“m ultra lounge”