Monday, November 16, 2009

there's no "i" in sweepstakes (but there is in "wish")

I bought a couple of books online today and after checking out, I noticed a banner for Amazon's Wishlist Sweepstakes, in particular the Week 6 Yellowstone Photo Expedition with Canon. As a supporter of both the National Park Service and new gear, it made sense to check into it further.

After drooling on my desk thinking about the sweepstakes package, I noticed a discussion forum at the bottom of the page. There were maybe a dozen of different topics, 5 of which stood out with the number of comments; not that many as far as comments go but significantly more than the other topics. These "popular" topics are:
  • Canon sweepstakes
  • Greedy customers
  • Typical American hypocrisy
  • Are all non-US customers second rate?
  • Does your non-American life revolve around sweepstakes and other American-only rights?
As can be imagined, only the first topic was 100% positive, in that the majority of respondents were amateur photographers and all looked at the potential opportunity as a dream come true. Some wanted to win for others in their family to enjoy. Even a few of the Nikon people were ready to reconsider their alliances for such an opportunity (and, I think, that says something about the opportunity). Oh, the happy meter overfloweth here.

The other 4 threads were all blood baths, stemming primarily from the Sweepstakes being open to US residents only. The combatants appeared to hail from both sides of the pond (or possibly both sides of both ponds) and conversant with the English language. Of course, it would be inconceivable that Amazon would advertise the sweepstakes outside of the US (yes, I checked anyway) and that knowledge of the contest would come only from viewing (and understanding) the US site.

I don't speak any other language (surprised, actually, that I learned English) so for all I know, Amazon and other retailers like them have had numerous sweepstakes in other countries that I am not aware of. Damn, I would have liked to have entered a sweepstakes for a photo expedition in the Alps!

The "Greedy Customers" thread focused on materialism (no purchase necessary but to enter, contestants were required to create, or add to, an Amazon wish list) and the banter there was just as volatile. Accusations ran from wanting what you don't need to advertising ploy to democrat to republican to just down right evil.

The one bright light in this thread came from a D. Forgione who said, "When I was a kid all we had were wishes to give. At Christmas we would cut out pictures of what we would give someone if we had a lot of money and tie it to a wishbone so we all could wish it would come true. I love wish lists and if I can win by wishing, I don't think that makes me a greedy person." How wonderful is that? That's a great way to start off the holiday season.

So, in the spirit, here is a picture of a $50 Amazon gift card for all. However, remember it is only worth a picture of $38.23 (the damn shoplifters again) and it can only be redeemed within a picture of an Amazon Distribution Center in the US.

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