Sunday, January 17, 2010

My Amazing Competition Win

Twenty-five years or so ago, it was August, and a hot August too. Leeds seemed fairly empty - everyone seemed to have gone to the seaside.

I happened to go shopping in a department store in Leeds City Centre - rare for me - and found a leaflet advertising a competition to Win a Holiday Wardrobe.

What this meant was that you would win some vouchers to be spent in that particular store - - but when I looked more closely, I thought it might be worth entering.

There were five prizes - - the top one was £500, then £400, £300, £200, £100 - all in vouchers for the store.

To enter you had to work out a series of anagrams all to do with holidays - they were all a bit tricky to do because I'm not good at anagrams. If I see the word cebah I think it's an exciting new word, and not an anagram of beach.

Still, I stopped for a coffee in their cafe and didn't have anything to read, so whilst I drank my coffee I worked out all the anagrams.

Then you had to write a little slogan as to why you wanted to buy your holiday clothes from this particular store.

I thought hey - - it's the middle of summer: Leeds is extremely empty at the moment, and so is this store, and this comeptition is a bit fiddly to do because there are lots of anagrams - -- I bet not many people will enter.

The Communist had won quite a few competitions at the time, from the Pharmaceutical Journal. Any competition in it had a very low number of entries because it was only read by pharmacists. Most pharmacists didn't seem to be very good at competition slogans. The Communist excelled at them, and at little rhymes too, so he was always winning things - none of them very expensive, but all well worth having.

I picked up a handful of competition entry leaflets from the department store. I filled in all the answers. I made up some cheesy slogans. And then I gave them to ten friends and asked them to fill in their name and address, and then the next time I went to town, I took the whole lot back to the store and surreptitiously put them in the competition box.

And then I forgot all about it.

Until, a few weeks later, my friends started ringing me up and telling me that they'd won. Between us, we won all the prizes except one.

The slogan which won the top prize was actually written by one of my friends so I can claim no credit for it:

"I want to win a Boggins Holiday Wardrobe because they're tops for value, tops for style, and tops for service with a smile."

I had considered this cheesy beyond cheesiness, but it just goes to show. Never underestimate the cheesiness required.

Everyone who won insisted on splitting their winnings with me. I hadn't really considered what would happen in such an eventuality, because I never expected to win, of course. Anyway, everyone seemed very happy.

Buying clothes has never been of paramount interest to me but I do remember that amongst the things we bought was a summer suit for Stephen to wear to work, which lasted for years.

I had such success with this - albeit rather naughty - strategy that afterwards I couldn't bear the idea of not winning anything I entered - - so I hardly ever entered anything again. That was it for our family competition winnings. Olli once won a poetry competition when he was very little but if I quote you the poem he will actually kill me. Yes, DEAD. So I won't.

Today, I've just entered a competition in a magazine - - but no cheesy slogan was required, which was a pity because I think "They're tops for value, tops for style and tops for service with a smile" is ripe for recycling and could be applied to anything, really.

So I don't expect to win. But we'll see.


Blogger Silverback said...

I hope you win but I suspect the prize will be a bum bag with no zip !

But if you win a load of shekels, then we'l have to split them as you nicked my magazine, already.

7:19 pm  
Blogger Yorkshire Pudding said...

But why would anyone want to go on holiday with a wardrobe? These great big hulking things are hard enough to lift up staircases but to tie one on to a roof rack or struggle with one on to a Scarborough bound train, changing at York - well. it just doesn't bear thinking about.

8:08 pm  
Blogger rhymeswithplague said...

In high school I won a Hidden Word contest in our town's local newspaper. My girlfriend's mother was editor, but that had anything to do with it. At least I don't think it had anything to do with it.

I won a bottle of champagne on a New York-to-West Palm Beach flight for figuring out our time of arrival -- not our actual time of arrival, mind you, but our theoretical time of arrival that could be worked out as a math problem based on a paragraph about our airplane's speed and headwind speed and a few other things that I don't remember.

We will keep our fingers crossed regarding your latest contest entry, but it may prove very difficult to type on the computer keyboard.

9:13 pm  

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