Thursday 7 March 2013

The things we do for comps!

It is vitally important to check the terms and conditions of a competition  before you enter. Not doing so can lead to the horrible disappointment of being told you have won a prize, only to have it snatched away again when you turn out to have unwittingly broken a rule, for instance being in the wrong age group or not having a required till receipt.

When you are entering a competition online, you can usually simply click on a link to access the rules. But sometimes, promoters make it so difficult for us to read the rules that it makes me wonder whether they feel they have something to hide, or are maybe hoping to have so many incorrect entries  that it is easy to choose a winner.

Competitions advertised on posters and display stands in shops can be the worst culprits. All too often we see a sign just telling us to text a code to a number, without mentioning that a purchase is needed. Last year, for instance, a huge poster in WHSmiths told us to text a code for a chance to win a Mini. So lots of people will have done that without realising they also had to buy a HUGE and quite expensive bar of chocolate.

But for people who subscribe to my magazine Grape Vine, there are no such worries. I go to great lengths to check the terms and conditions and point out any obscure details (find out more about Grape Vine in the links at the top of the page). And sometimes that means going to extraordinary lengths.

Those dump bins in supermarkets that have vague details of a competition splashed across the top and then the terms and conditions written in tiny print at the bottom - or even across the bottom of the back - are the worst culprits. Amazingly enough I've never been questioned by the staff for the attention I give the displays, often rearranging the stock on display or lying on the floor to get a closer look. Sometimes the print is so tiny I have to take my glasses off and press my nose right up against the display to read it. So picture me, lying on the floor of Tesco, nose pressed to the display, one arm holding my glasses high in the air so that nobody wheels a trolley over them, the other frantically scribbling notes, or taking photos on my camera - and nobody bats an eyelid! Maybe the staff in Tesco are used to me by now and expect such behaviour from me. Or perhaps that's just normal behaviour in Aldershot?

Yesterday at the petrol station I did get some odd looks though - dotted around the forecourt were bollards advertising a competition on Lucozade. Once again, the terms and conditions were in tiny print at ground level - and I really didn't want to lie on the oily floor of the forecourt. So I picked up a bollard and placed it on top of my car, where the small print was at eye level. I think the staff thought I was planning to drive away with the bollard perched on top of my car.

So if ever I get arrested for suspicious behaviour, I promise you it was all in the line of duty!


  1. Made my day re bollard! love it


  2. oh oh... spill the beans oh intrepid one, are we buying lucozade this summer? are they giving out festival tickets?

    1. Yes, they are - promotional bottles are just staring to appear

  3. Hello Jane, I am astounded by the things you do for us lot out here and really appreciate it. I must say, a photo of you lying on the floor in Tesco would make a great competition entry for something! I had a good old chuckle at the thought of you lying there and people just stepping over you to get to the shelves. Priceless!

  4. Perhaps a picture of you lying on the floor in Tesco should be the caption comp at the next LCC meeting. The staff at my local Sainsburys are used to me going through the self service checkouts with 20 items, each needing a separate receipt, a few days before LCC meetings!


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