Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Simply the best?

Someone asks you what your best ever prize is - what do you say? Is it possible to answer that question objectively, or am I just over-analysing? Would you answer that question differently depending who asked you?

To the non-comper, the monetary value of a prize is probably the most obvious way to measure its greatness. To me, however, that’s just accountancy - and quack accountancy at that. Why? Well, for starters, list price and market price just aren’t the same thing. My favourite way to illustrate this is to browse Amazon for fire-sale timepieces - ie watches that are currently on sale with “99% off!” tickets.

The list price of these watches puts them up there with your Omegas and Tag Heuers - only you won’t see any Omegas or Tags here, because the genuine high-end brands don’t do fire sales. Likewise, you won’t see anyone buying these pseudo luxuries at their full price simply because they aren’t really luxury goods.

Anyway, I'm losing sight of my point, which is that using a price-tag as a proxy for awesomeness is a blunt instrument at best. It makes no allowance for aesthetics or utility or any other criteria that might be especially important to the individual.

Of course, you could always refer back to your win-list spreadsheet and grade every prize on a scale of 1-10 using whatever arbitrary criteria are most meaningful to you, but that would be a whole new level of bonkers, pure and simple.

And all this is before we even get to the ‘money can’t buy’ experiences.

So what prompted this rambling train of thought? Simply that I was recently asked what I considered my best prize to be and I froze like the proverbial spot-lit bunny. I’m regularly hamstrung by pointless pedantry, and have terrible bother filling in forms, and in this case I simply couldn’t move beyond ‘best, how?’

Fortunately, I was granted a little grace here, so I’ll share it with you. For me, ‘best’ means most cherished (although I reserve the right to revise this at any point!). And my most cherished win is the iPhone 5 I won during my first summer of comping.
selfie with iPhone
Happiest day of my comping life. The promoter hated my pic.

I didn’t have a dozen wins under my belt at this point, and the first thing I remember on receiving the winning notification was a sudden burst of nausea, as if, I don’t know, someone was going undo my win (and indeed, to this day, I never feel like something has been truly won till I’ve unwrapped the parcel!).

After that I was just giddily impatient. I was using an abysmal phone at the time and I hated it like you can’t imagine. It was mediocre when I got it, and 18 months into my contract it was barely even unfit for purpose.

Now, I’m pretty sure the ‘new’ phone was a reconditioned model (the fact that the promoter was a phone repair company was a major clue here) but I didn’t care - from that point, every call I made, every text I sent, reminded me that I was a winner. Remember, this was still my early days of comping, so it was like getting dozens of pep talks a day! On top of all that, I was able to enter so many more photo comps (my previous phone didn’t even have a selfie cam!) that the prize single-handedly pushed my comping game up a gear.

In short, the prize changed my life. It probably wasn’t the most expensive thing I’ve won (given its provenance, I'm just guessing what it would have cost at the time), but I’m pretty sure it made me a better person - if only because I was cursing less!

What does ‘best’ mean to you? What’s your ‘best’ prize and why?


  1. what a brilliant story. So true that best can't always be described by highest value - A couple of my 'best' wins are a Pink Lining bag when my daughter was born - i'd always dreamed of one but at the time was beyond my price range and a stroller for her as the old one we had was second hand when we got it and was really on it's last legs. I think because i needed them at the time it made it more special. My new front door also has to be up there as people just find it so funny that i won a front door - but again when it was really needed as we'd had the rest of the house extension and had no budget left to replace the door. Now we have the smartest door on the street. I've never won a phone though despite trying so well done. 5 or 6 ipads though (i've actually lost count) and they brought so much happiness to family members when we gave them as gifts. In fact, I was the last in my own family to have an ipad because they kept getting given to others whenever I won one!

    1. That's an amazing run on the iPads! Over how many years is that? I almost gave up trying to win one but won a Mini earlier this year. It's a great device, but it was something I was lusting after rather than needing desperately so didn't change my life as much as it might have done. It also doesn't help that I'm still so wed to my laptop!

      A door is a great prize! They might not be "fun", but there's no escaping the fact that they're one of life's more expensive essentials. As a matter of fact, I've just entered an Aviva comp for a load of doors (and they'll fit them too!) :D

    2. ipads was over about 3 years i would guess - and definitely a family effort - not just me alone - i think my son won one in a toxic mag comp, hubby won one, i won a random draw one, one was a blog post writing/photo comp and some were mini's (i think 2 ipads, and 4 ipad mini's in total)

    3. It's great to get the family onboard with the comping isn't it?! My eldest boy is not the most biddable of children, but I did manage to get him onside with a recent video comp for WHS (I think). I imagine there's some much better entries out there, but I am at least hopeful his cooperation is a good sign for the future!