Winning a Chance to Lose

As Erin, Vivian and I grabbed a quick bite at Wendy’s, we noticed that the restaurant is having a contest. The owners (so far) of Tim Horton’s is taking a page from their donut subsidiary encouraging patrons to “Lift up the Lip” (to… lose? Andrew at Bound by Gravity would say this would be more in keeping with one’s odds with Tim Horton’s contest). Anybody who orders a drink with their meal gets two chances to win; half of the cup is given over to instant win prizes including a new pick-up truck, satellite radio packages and free food.

The other half of the cup is given over to a PIN number, which allows you to log into this site to enter into a draw for a chance to win $1,000,000. But there’s a catch. Four “grand prize” winners will have to sing for their supper, so to speak. Here’s the direct quote:

On Thursday October 11th, four Grand Prize winners will go head-to-head in a Kickdown Playoff!

A “Kickdown Playoff”? Am I alone in hoping these four Grand Prize winners will be forced to kick each other?

Each Grand Prize winner will get one chance to kick a field goal from the 10 yard line. Those who are successful keep moving back in five yard increments to try again.

The Grand Prize winner who has the longest successful field goal kick will get the opportunity to kick field goals on Friday, October 12th during the Toronto Argonauts game broadcast LIVE on TSN for a chance to win:

50 yards - $1,000,000 One-Time Payout.

40 yards - 2008 GMC Sierra

30 yards - $15,000 SellOffVacations.com Travel Voucher

20 yards - $10,000 Best Buy Shopping Spree

A few years ago, I believe CBC’s Market Place did an investigation of these fast food contests, noting that as many as 90% of the prizes went unclaimed. One was forced to wonder how ethical it was for these outlets to advertise several million dollars worth of prizes when the actual cost to the company was much less. Should a company be advertising such a high payout if it would be a near-disaster to the company if, by some lucky stars, all the prizes ended up claimed?

There is a good chance that Wendy’s won’t have to shell out $1,000,000, given that I believe the number of professional football players to kick 50 yards or longer field goals is still in the three digit range. If some average Joe was able to kick that distance, I suspect he might end up scouted, though the CFL club would have to pay him something more substantial than an average kicker’s salary, given that the guy now has a million bucks in his pocket.

So, really, four Grand Prize winners have just won a chance to humiliate themselves in front of tens of thousands of attendees in the Skydome and whoever else is watching on national television. Along with an all-expenses paid trip to Toronto and tickets to an Argos game.

Which might be worth it.

Be better if it were the Grey Cup.

Mind you, if I was out there on the 50 yard line, staring a million dollars in the face, I might read through the rules to look for some loophole that would allow me to grab the ball and get closer.

Contest MC: “What the hell are you doing?!!?”

Me: “I’ve faked the kick and I’m going for the end zone!!”

Contest MC (to security guards): “After him!”

Announcer: “He’s at the 40! He’s at the 30! He dodges a tackle! He’s going all the way!”

Why not? It’s football.


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$10.10 for Democracy on 10/10

I have donated $10.10 to the Vote for MMP campaign, in honour of the date Ontario’s referendum on the MMP proportional representation system will be held. I believe that the version of MMP offered, while not perfect, still represents a significant improvement on the current First Past the Post system and should be implemented in order to make Queen’s Park more representative of Ontario’s political makeup, and more responsive to needs of voters across Ontario.

I will be posting my own reasons for supporting MMP later this year, possibly a week before the referendum when more people are paying attention, but you can check out the campaign website for their reasons. You should also check out Dr. Dawg’s post debunking ten common myths about MMP.

Perhaps most tellingly, recent polls suggest that support for MMP increases the more people are aware of the option. For many, the idea just makes sense, and the real challenge is to communicate to voters that the current system — which many have grown severely disillusioned with — isn’t the only way we have to go.

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