Little Effort – Less Reward

Winning things is great.  We’ve gone over this before.  The sense of victory, the pride in “getting something” for some inane reason.  Sometimes when you win things you’ve worked hard for or have invested a lot of time in.  That makes the winning greater.  Other times, it’s quick, unexpected, and yet still enjoyable.  I’ve really done nothing, and I’ve gotten something out of it.  It’s almost on the same level as getting a free sample at a grocery store…you didn’t really do anything, but you got something anyways.  However, when the result isn’t deemed worthy of the effort, you can end up feeling worse than if you’d won nothing in the first place.

There’s a certain restaurant that rhymes with SchmicSchmonalds that’s running a little contest right now.  “Buy our food, you could win stuff“.  And it’s the old Monopoly game again, where you can collect pieces (too much time) or win instantly (which makes more sense for the target buyer, honestly, we’re buying fast food, we CLEARLY don’t have enough time to do anything of substance.)  The odds on this “instant win” are approximately 1 in 4.  So every four times you pick up something gluttonous, you should receive something for free in return.  Or at least, that’s how our minds work.  We don’t really expect much, maybe a free small fry or an apple pie, but still…it’d be nice, right?

After indulging in a few non-organic rations and obtaining random Monopoly pieces (the railroads are worth about as much as in the REAL Monopoly) I finally won something instant.  5 items of food, 1 win.  That’s about what to expect, so no dissatisfaction there.  Let the record show, for 5/10ths of a second, I felt slight excitement in knowing I had won something that moments before I had no earthly claim to.  The excitement quickly melted like the ice cubes in my empty cup, diluting any positive flavours I had procurred…

…what the hell is Snapfish?

I had apparently won something to do with Snapfish, and had I known what that meant I would have thrown it in my Big Mac box and thrown it out with the rest of the fallen sesame seeds.  However, seeing as I had won something confusing, I had to dig deeper.  A website stood out on the printed plastic, and I dove into the enveloping mush of the internet to satiate my winning appetite.

5 minutes and three or four forms later, I had registered myself to the “I’ve won something online so here is my life story” site that I will surely never visit again, and there at the bottom stood the last obstacle to my prize discovery:  The skill testing question.  55 – (9+8).  Ok, let’s do the math…9 and 8 is 17, so 55-17 is 38, right?  Right?!

Hpw is it that the simplest tasks can become painfully difficult when the slightest amount of stress is applied?  Parallel parking on a side street with no one around?  Easy.  Busy downtown street?  It’s like you’re driving an 18 wheeler.  After checking my math three separate times, I clicked the <enter> button.  Then another window popped up: “Are you sure?”  Re-triple-check again, yes.  And click.

The following page started fantastically…”Congratulations!” in nice big letters at the top.  I was done entering things, and was about to reap the fish snapping rewards…which were…I’m sorry, what?

Two free 5×7 prints from Snapfish.

Wait.  Wait a minute.  I just spent 10 minutes of my life entering countless lines of information about my sex/age/height/blood type/favourite movie/number of cavities/phone number/copy of my house key…so I can get a couple of digital pictures printed on paper?  For “free?”  REALLY.

I’ve never really experienced a bad “time invested vs. end reward” moment before, at least, not that I can remember.  And in the big scheme of things, is this a big deal?  Absolutely not.  But you’re telling me I won something that I can readily do in 5 seconds at work?  Break out the balloons!

So that’s the story.  I won something I didn’t think I was going to win, it was something I didn’t understand, and it took 10 minutes to figure out it would’ve been better to spend 10 seconds walking it to the garbage instead.  Be warned my friends.  I look forward to the telemarketing calls.  Oh, and I’m still debating what to send for my free pictures: Shots of fries and burgers, or maybe a couple of extended fingers.  That might be worth it.

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