2008.07.30 Has anybody seen the Prize Patrol Van?

Written by David Green.

By RICH FOLEY

It seems like almost every day lately, I’ve “won” some sort of contest. I answered the phone Sunday night, and was told I’d won a membership to the YMCA in a neighboring county.

The caller made it sound like it was a really special prize. She was supposedly calling local people, and the first one to answer their phone would be declared the winner. Unfortunately, I could hear about a dozen or so people talking in the background, probably all reading the same script. I wonder how many “winners” they actually ended up with?

Besides, about a year ago, I’d gotten an almost identical call from a health club in Wauseon. I was the lucky “winner” then, too. Do you suppose both places hired the same company to do their telemarketing? I was tempted to tell the latest caller that the last company to make me that offer went out of business, but I just passed on the opportunity and let her move on to the next lucky phone owner.

I also have been getting a huge number of emails announcing I’ve won some foreign lottery I’ve never heard of. Does anyone fall for these anymore? But why bother with overseas lottery scams when it looks like I’ve won at least $10,000,000 in the Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstakes?

I usually ignore the PCH letters because you have to search through all their stamps and slips of paper to figure out and find what you need to enter the contest. But this one had a different twist.

It seems that the PCH people had already done at least some homework in preparation of bringing me my prize. 

They plan to alert television stations 13 and 24 in Toledo (apparently 11 and 36 are going to miss out on this story).

You always see someone in those “Prize Patrol” advertisements with a big bunch of flowers. My prize arrangements list says that flowers will be provided by the Village Florist. It’s nice that they’re hiring someone local.

Unfortunately, the Prize Patrol plans to stay at a motel in Wauseon. Obviously, PCH is unaware that Fayette has three fine bed-and-breakfast establishments to choose from, one of them just a few blocks south of my apartment. Maybe I can get Don or Jane Stiriz to call and convince them to change their reservations.

PCH also plans to go out of town for their “local gas station” choice. If anyone in Morenci happens to see the Prize Patrol van, it’ll be on its way to the Shell station for some gas. Since they’re going to be there anyway, maybe I can ask them to have Karma or Tanya make me a BLT. Once they arrive in Fayette, I’ll be too busy talking to the media to make something myself.

The biggest problem might be the fact that the sweepstakes entry is addressed to my post office box. Do you suppose the Prize Patrol will just hang out in the post office lobby until I show up to get my mail?

One of the many pieces of paper in the entry was a note from PCH Executive Director Dave Sayer, who asked, “Will you soon see me driving the PCH Prize Patrol Van in Fayette looking for your place?” Actually, I’m afraid that’s exactly what will happen, unless Rick Davis gets tired of them loitering around the post office and gives them directions to the apartment.

I know what you’re probably thinking—what makes me so sure I’m going to win the sweepstakes? I really didn’t until I saw the pictures of the previous PCH big prize winners. Their first names all seemed to be typos with winners named “Martan,” “Erelene,” and “Clemmie,” just to name three.

Somehow, PCH managed to mangle my own first name, spelling it “Ricahrd” on the envelope and in every reference to me in the letter and sweepstakes materials. I’m hoping they will pick me to continue their streak of winners with weird first names. How would you pronounce “Ricahrd,” anyway?

Perhaps I’d better warn postmaster Davis about the spelling discrepancy. But he did manage to deliver the letter in the first place, so I suppose it shouldn’t be a problem. But to avoid any trouble at the bank, maybe I should have PCH make out the check to “cash.”

Anyway, the winner is going to be announced on national television on August 27th. Either I’m going to be a multi-millionaire, or I’m going to be sorry I turned down that free YMCA membership.

  • Front.tug
    MORENCI pep rallies generally end with a tug of war. The senior class entry, shown above, did not advance to the finals. Griffin Grieder, Alaina Webster, Kyle Long and Jazmin Smith are shown at the front of the rope, giving it their best effort.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Athletic Fields
    SPORTS COMPLEX—Fayette’s outdoor athletic facilities will include three ball fields for summer recreation leagues at the southwest corner of the school. The baseball and softball fields, along with the running track, will be constructed on the east side of the school. Outdoor athletic fields were not part of the new school project from 2007, but voters approved a $1.4 million levy for a school addition and the sports fields last August. Both projects are scheduled to be complete by July 20.
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.band
    TROMBONISTS Jake Myers (left) and Max Baker perform Friday at the annual Senior Citizens Luncheon at Fayette High School. The National Honor Society and the FFA chapter teamed up to serve a meal to area seniors and to provide musical entertainment. Both the school band and choir performed. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.

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