Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Car Dealership's Bogus Prize

Imagine our surprise when we picked up the mail last week and found this offer:

The offer from the Larry H. Miller Used Car Supermarket promised us, through highly-evolved scratch and win technology, that we were entitled to a free DELUXE DIGITAL CAMERA! According to the prize sheet, the odds of winning this prize are 29,998 to 1. Naturally, our first thought was that it must be a trap. But the paper can't lie. Since the odds of winning the camera are the same as the odds for the vacation and the $10,000 giveaway, we reasoned that this must be one stinking good camera.

This auto dealership has tried to screw my parents over in the past, but I was willing to give them the benefit of a doubt. Wishful thinking, it turns out.

My roommate went and got the camera earlier:

Words cannot describe how crappy this camera is. It's plainly a disposal digital camera, designed for single uses and for children. The camera records in a stunning 100K resolution, or one-tenth of a megapixel. Nearly all cell phone cameras have higher resolution. Here's a shining example of its quality, from a picture taken earlier under normal indoor lighting:

This is partially explained by the fact that the camera is plainly used: the entire front is rusted, the lense nonexistent and the focuser clearly broken. Still, considering the fact that Merriam-Webster defines "deluxe" as "notably luxurious, elegant, or expensive", it seems that Larry H. Miller has some explaining to do.

Walking to our apartment, we found our neighbor's offer in the trash. Surprise! They won a digital camera too! The odds of this are less than 1 in 899 million. I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that our other two neighbors won cameras, too. The odds of this are less than 1 in 809,784 trillion. The "prize" is clearly a ploy to get you into the dealership where the manager will try to get you into a new car. Congratulations, Larry H. Miller Used Car Supermarket, for false advertising and outright thievery.

"But it's a free camera!" Some will say. Why bother complaining over a "free" prize?

Easy. If I get somebody thirty miles away to come to my house for a $100 giveaway, telling him that he's the only winner, and he shows up along with 500 others for a dirty quarter, he'd be mad, and rightly so.

I will be calling them tomorrow during normal business hours. I plan to ask about the word "deluxe" and just how on earth they calculated the odds of winning. Watch out, Larry.


  1. Anonymous12:03 PM

    My favorite part about this is how the camera is the middle "two money bag" prize -- above the 3 day 2 night vacation.... Taking into account the quality each money bag must represent...I really hate to consider what entails a "one money bag" vacation.

  2. Yeah. Plus I think the $10,000 giveaway is in Monopoly money.


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