A few weeks ago, I attended a local County Fair and stopped by the booth of Fifth Avenue Collection, a jewelry company. I wasn’t too intrigued by the products, but stopping at booths is something you do when you go to a Fair. The friendly woman staffing the booth asked me if I’d like to sign up to win $50 worth of free jewelry from their company. Sure, I said, and I did. Then I walked off and visited the local Red Cross booth, a booth selling pillows, a cellular phone company’s information stand, the local radio station’s live setup, etc. I forgot all about the jewelry booth, but—here I segue into a brief food review, unrelated to jewelry—I did break my pretty-much-vegetarian rule and snarfed down a corn dog. It was perfect. Just the right amount of fluffy coating, and the “dog” inside was hot. Add a little ketchup to a baby like that, and you’re in business.
So, anyway, the Fair is now over and I’m dieting off all the fat I consumed, and back on my vegetarian diet. The corn dog was worth the extra exercising I’ve had to endure.
Back to the point of this blog . . . I’d completely forgotten the Fair until a few days ago, when a woman called me and said, “You won!” It was Delise (or whatever) from Fifth Avenue Jewelry. My name was evidently drawn to win the $50 gift certificate. Cool! I’m not really into jewelry, but if they have 5,000 pieces (as she said) in their collection, I can probably find a bracelet or necklace that I’d order for free. The situation initially seemed to hint at a spot of serendipity because I’d been thinking I’d like a new something-or-other to wear if I ever get a job interview. Hey, free jewelry.
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, there’s a rub. Delise would like me to come to the company’s Open House in a couple of weeks in order to claim my $50 prize and get my picture taken accepting it. The Open House is in the evening, and it’s in a different town from where I live, so I am welcome to sacrifice a couple of hours of my waning summer (and we have such short summers anyway) in order to claim my prize. And while I’m at it, I can also book a house party if I’d like and get even MORE free jewelry! Did I mention I can book a house party because they’re really fun and I can invite all my girlfriends over to my house to order jewelry so that I can get more free jewelry myself?
I asked Delise if I could just spend my $50 there at the Open House, implying that I am not open to doing a house party. She said, well, yes you can, but she would really recommend having a house party because then I can get even more free stuff.
At that moment, I just about discarded my natural inclination towards diplomacy and professionalism at all “costs” (no pun intended). Obviously, it’s not really a free gift if I have to do stuff to get it, but I didn’t say this to Delise because I realize she’s trying to generate business and this stupid promotion was probably not her idea anyway. I felt the best thing for me to do was to avoid making any commitments, rather than turning her down altogether. Actually, I guess I decided to play their game—if they are going to string me along with an Open House so I can get my “free” gift, I can appear to be thinking about having a jewelry party at my house, even though it’s one of the last things I’d ever voluntarily do with my free time.
- I have enough disposable income to buy a piece of jewelry that I really like. I don’t need free jewelry.
- My girlfriends are not jewelry lovers, either. Birds of a feather and all that. Plus, they’re working moms, part-time workers, garage sale bargain hunters, and not the type to drop $95 on a necklace that they don’t really need or want anyway. And this is one of the many reasons I love them and spend time with them.
- Wow, am I ever an idiot to sign up to win something.
I went to the Fifth Avenue website (pubusa.fifthavenuecollection.com) and poked around. Not much there. I did find this anklet, which is sort of “me”:
But where are these 5,000 pieces? Can’t Delise just send me a catalog and I can order like that? With my uneventful job, I would actually have time to browse their website if there was much on there.
Resolution: As it turns out, I have a Humane Society board meeting on the evening of the Open House, so I won’t be able to attend the Open House, anyway. I guess I’ll call Delise and explain. I’ll be mightily tempted to suggest that a “free gift” is not free if I have to do something to get it, but I probably won’t. I’ll give her the chance to “be big” and still give me the $50, but I won’t ask her for it. Maybe she can give it to someone else.
Thinking this way makes me wonder how many people “won.” Presumably, everyone who threw their name & phone number in the hat. Nice going, Fifth Avenue Collection Jewelry. You’ll only fool me once.