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.


As time goes by…I will always love you

Men and women are complaining: “Relationships are not how they used to be”, but still behind a man’s and a woman’s touch, the substance remains the same…

When a boy meets a girl, either there is a happy ending or… a boy meets another girl…and that’s a fact. While changes are made through the years, similarities win by number.


The surface: We tend to introduce ourselves as a future love-mate with a beautiful appearance:
The woman dressed in the crinoline, wearing white gloves and holding an umbrella gave her place to the “lolita” party girl- dressed for success- that is flirting with the businessman in an Armani suit. It all fades out after the first morning glance: when all make-up is gone along with the last drops of alcohol in your breath.

Money talks: Everybody has a hidden desire to find a rich soul-mate. Afterall money makes the world go round…If you are eventually getting married, you are way better off with a wealthy man than with a poor one, even if you have to make some compromises. The old man may not worry about dowry. He can always end up with the poor but young and beautiful lady…On the other hand, the rich young men usually settle with a girl from their social circle…

Gifts: They are a girl’s best friend…especially when they are made of diamonds. From the humble sentimental rose to the expensive engagement ring, gifts can rescue a relationship, a marriage or a house! So stop being stingy!

Envy: Liz Taylor and Richard Burton were bonded in a love driven by jealousy and betrayal until the end. Through the years jealousy remains the same…only the leading roles vary, while the drama depends on the acting ability of the couple.

Unfaithfulness: Everyone has a devastating experience with a disloyal love-partner. In 1999, Bill Clinton’s and Monica Lewinsky’s sex scandal led to an embarrassing public speech and a “permanently stained” marriage…For common people like you and me the punishment varies from a big fight to a tough divorce, except in this case no one wishes to get informed about it…

Romance: You need to show your love under a full moon or lying on the sand next to the calm sea. You have to be holding hands or running around with your partner until you drop down kissing her or his salty lips…the image of people in love stays the same through the years.

Sex: It remains a priority for everyone, especially when it is about true love…in the old years the lusty location was a warm bed…in our day you can even have sex sitting alone in your computer chair…all the rest is plain technology…

Marriage: Most women are trapped in the old-fashioned thinking: Since 1900, women must get married even if they end up getting divorced. Marriage may be killing love, but men still adhere to traditions. After all, nothing is better than an ironed t-shirt, a clean house and a warm meal cooked by a sexy mother and a career-woman…! Of course, nowadays people of the same sex can be bonded too until “death do them apart”.

Mother in law: The same-old woman who is usually making snide and sarcastic comments about the way you dress, the way you cook and the way you raise her grand-children…Do not underestimate her. Start getting along with her for your own sake!

Matchmaking services: Τhe basic idea stays the same even though the traditional matchmaker is replaced by current technology love sites. Years ago young women were not allowed to chase the man of their dreams…the modern woman has no time for man hunting.

Good luck in finding your soul-mate…

photo credit: <a href=””>Millzero Photography</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a&gt; <a href=””>cc</a&gt;

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