Monday, 16 March 2009

My Hopes Were Up

Just so you know: this post has nothing whatsoever to do with our adoption.

A little while ago, a well-known manufacturer of confectionery (okay, it was M.ars) ran a competition that they were promoting on campus. The task was to make something out of three m.ars bars: first prize, £1000, runner up prizes - m.ars hampers.

Now, if I have one tip for successful living - one thing I have learned in all my years, it is this: enter competitions. I don't mean the 'phone this number and answer a stupidly simple question' competitions, I mean competitions where you actually have to TRY. The reason is: most people can't be bothered trying, and there will be many, many fewer entries than you think, meaning that you can win AMAZING stuff with remarkably low-quality entries. With this approach, I have won, in the last two years, a very nice cameraphone, a Pentax digital SLR and an out-of-this-world African safari.

No, not kidding. If you've ever been on my flickr page, the pictures of lions and so on from August 2007 are from this trip.

So my motto is: You've got to be in it to win it! Otherwise known as: most people are lazy, so take advantage of that. So anyway, back to the story. I decided that of course this was worth my time! A colleague and I spent two lunchbreaks carefully crafting the following:

which was more difficult than it looks, but surprisingly fun. (That's the other rule, of course - only do competitions that are fun. Otherwise it's really NOT worth it, no matter how great the prizes are). As we suspected, the organisers were not bowled over with thousands of entries and despite the ordinariness of ours we won a runner-up prize. Yay! A hamper! Full of chocolate! Life was (no pun intended) sweet.

Well, anyway, that was more than three weeks ago. Whenever one of us was out of the office for more than about ten minutes, it became a running joke to ask 'has the hamper arrived while I was out?' on returning. The answer was always 'no', of course, and this hamper began to assume gargantuan, mythic proportions in our minds while we waited. Whenever things got a bit difficult (often) one of us would sigh and say 'you know, what I really need to get me through this is a hamper full of chocolate'. In quiet moments, we would discuss what we thought we would find inside on that happy day when it finally arrived. We had already promised bits of it to various people. Basically, we were like children waiting for Christmas. Occasionally, we would say 'ahhh, there is NO WAY this is going to be good enough to live up to our expectations'. But secretly, we thought it would.

Today, it arrived. It was a brown cardboard box, smaller than we had hoped, but with a promising weight of four kilograms! That's quite a lot of chocolate! Anyway, I know the suspense is killing you so here is what was inside:

The stuff in the big orange packets is... rice. I kid you not. RICE. And not just any rice, but... instant rice. And there is some stirfry sauce. Altogether, this is more than half the weight of the package. There's hardly any chocolate. Not a single m.ars bar. Not an M&M to be seen. No snickers (I love snickers).

What kind of company goes to the bother of running a competition, administers it, and then at the point of packing the prizes (at ZERO cost, from their OWN factory) decides: what all the kids want these days is a big box o' rice?

I'm not even really sure what the point of this post is, except to say... some things are so weird you just have to write them down. Today, I think I experienced one of them. Anyone want to come to my house for .... rice?


  1. What kind of cruel joke is that? Riiiiiiice?! I could understand chocolate rice maybe but riiiiice? Blech!

    P.S. Thank you for the beautiful, thoughtful beads. I cried my eyes out. You rock.

  2. Thanks Julie!! I'm so very very glad :)

  3. Oh God, that is sad and funny!!! I love the entry... hysterical! and I will folow your advice on this contest thing for sure.
    Malteasers, though small in size, are among my favorite UK treats (next to flying saucers... I miss them the most) so, even though you have to deal with a naff box of rice... there is an ex-pat out here wishing she was in possesion of those lovely malted chocolate treats!!

  4. That is... Why would... How...?

    Oh, for pete's sake. I am completely at a loss for words.

    Going to send you some Snickers bars, I promise.

  5. Get the wok a sizzlin', I'll be right over.


    P.S. I have rarely won nary a thing in contests. This year Craig and I entered this contest to win a super duper fancy expensive house in CA - which we would have promptly sold to pay back the piper (read: owner of our student loans, owner of our life and souls mind you). But, alas, I guess some other ripe couple won the damn thing. I'll just have to go home and cozy up with our educational debt again, it's so snuggly really.

  6. Just think of the time you'll save cooking rice - how incredibly useful. You want to know why they did it? Because NOBODY ELSE WANTED IT. I bet they're all cackling away to themselves in their little offices right now.

    Imagine what 1st prize must have been... 10kg of rice? Maybe theirs cooks in only 1.5 mins instead of 3.

  7. I just entered a photo contest this year; unfortunately, thousands of other people are not lazy enough to sit this one out, so my hopes of winning are low. But man, what a great thing to enter contests like you do. Inspiring. Hopefully, I could win something better than a box of rice.

  8. This so made me smile.....and not in a way that says I'm okay with you not getting chocolate. (-;


Over to you!