When I was a kid, a national fast food chain sponsored an annual Monopoly game. The basic premise of the game was buy the restaurant’s stuff, and get a game piece for every $X of stuff you bought. If you were able to collect a complete series of game pieces (i.e., all of the railroads, the Indiana/Illinois/Kentucky trifecta, Marvin’s Gardens and whatever other low-rent piece of property that went with it, etc.), you won a prize.
My family never really got into the whole sweepstakes craze, so I didn’t have much exposure to this contest as a kid. As an adult, I don’t eat the fast food, so I was never in the restaurant to be able to acquire a game piece. So, I knew of the Monopoly contest in theory, but not in practice.
But all of that changed today. A few years back I heard that the fast food chain stopped running the contest (I remember hearing about allegations that the game was rigged, that the largest prizes were actually never granted…. I don’t know how much of that was true versus urban myth, and I’m completely uninterested in it to spend any time doing research to find out); what I was unaware of was that another company picked it up!
As I was checking out at the grocery store this morning, the 17-year-old cashier handed me my register receipt, along with six little red pieces of cardboard. I must have looked a bit confused, because before I could say anything he told me (quite brightly), “… and here are your Monopoly game pieces! Wow, you got six – what a great start to the contest for you!” He then smiled at me, and nodded encouragingly; and much like Ralphie in A Christmas Story, I smiled and nodded back, a bit stunned.
When I got home, I inspected the game board and the pieces:
And after I looked over it all, I thought, “Eh, what the heck, why not give this sweepstakes a whirl?” I won’t make any special efforts to acquire various ‘properties’, but if game pieces keep being given to me, why not put them on the board and see what happens?
So, today I unexpectedly started playing a game – and playing games are kind of fun, even if there is no expectation to win. (Or, maybe having no expectations actually makes the game more fun?) At any rate, if you need pickles (I141), lettuce (T181), mini pizzas (C115), or sausages (U187), I have extras – and am totally willing to share. 🙂