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.F.school
    PROGRESS continues on the agriculture classroom addition at Fayette High School. The project will add 2,900 square feet of space and include an overhead door that would allow equipment to be driven inside. The building should be ready for the start of school in August. Work on ball fields and a running track is also underway.
  • Front.rover
    CLEARING THE WAY—Road crossings in the area on the construction route of the Rover natural gas pipeline are marked with poles and flags as preliminary work nears. Ditches and field entry points are covered with thick planks in many areas to support equipment for tree clearing operations. Actual pipeline construction is progressing across Ohio toward a collecting station near Defiance. That segment of the project is expected to wrap up in July. The 42-inch line through Michigan and into Ontario is scheduled for completion in November. The line is projected to transport 3.25 billion cubic feet of natural gas every day.
  • Front.geese
    ON THE MOVE—Six goslings head out on manuevers with their parents in an area lake. Baby waterfowl are showing up in lakes and ponds throughout the area.
  • 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).
  • 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.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.
  • Face Paint
    FUN NIGHT FUN—Savanna Miles sits patiently while Abbie White works on a face paint design Friday during the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Gracie Snead watches the progress after having spent time in the chair. Abbie was one of several volunteer painters, each creating their own unique look. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.

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