On giveaways and never getting the prize

Exactly two months ago I answered a question on Twitter to get a double pass to Melbourne Writers Festival.

I didn’t get notified.

Last month I did a survey for Honda who claimed that they would give away $20k worth of money.

I didn’t get notified.

Last week I did all three surveys for my subjects – they said some random students will get some amount of money.

I didn’t get notified.

Some days ago I commented on a Facebook post to get a newly published book.

I didn’t get notified.

Yesterday I submitted a research poster to win an iPhone watch.

I haven’t gotten notified (well, the competition has not ended).

Of course I never put high expectation on anything. But of course we all would love to get freebies – they are unexpected; they make us happy. It almost doesn’t matter whether we want or need them – they are free. Nothing comes freely these days.

My first experience of winning a prize happened last year. I was at my sister’s best friend’s wedding back in Jakarta. She was throwing the bouquet, or actually, a number of stalks of flowers, and I happened to get the one with the red ribbon. I had gotten a Samsung phone, which I gave to my Dad.

It felt good to get something (for free).

And you know what? Some people are born with extraordinary amount of luck.

I know a friend whose family has won two brand-new cars due to doorprize competitions. Some others had gotten phones, tablets or computers. I can barely get a book. (Rephrase: I can’t even get a book.) The Samsung phone was an exception, but the credit to that went to the wedding organiser, who dragged me to stand near the stage and told me the exact spot I should be holding up my hands to get the bouquet.

Okay, that was luck.

Do I really want those giveaways? Not exactly. If I really want them, I could buy them. But after doing one survey after another, I realised something else about myself: I actually like giving feedback. I mean, yes, some years ago I did the subject surveys because I had to, but I did them anyway. I could have not done them, but I did. Now, I find myself taking the time give my feedback. What’s the worst thing about your Honda HRV? A two-paragraph long answer. How can this subject be improved? A five-paragraph long answer. Probably the receiving ends are not happy to read my long answers anyway.

I would love to get that iPhone watch. But on giveaways, expectation should be set equal to zero.


Update: I didn’t get that iPhone watch, but I came 2nd in the competition. That means I get a certificate and a gift voucher. Well, better than nothing. *wink.


Photo by Henry Faber via Flickr, Creative Commons