When Winning is Losing

I think I may have just experienced the lamest non-accidental thing of the year. Imagine you won a super cool item in a raffle; a prize you had no idea you could win but also something you really wanted. You got to keep it for 30 minutes, then they take it back. That’s exactly what happened to Sage and me today. Some Denver organization set up a booth at SIA to welcome newcomers to the city and offer a hub where we could find out about the SIA parties and about the various manufacturers gifting swag on the show floor. They had also set up a white elephant swag exchange- you bring something you collected at the show and pick a box from their pile. Some of the boxes contained the regifted swag- a keychain, a hat, a T-shirt; others, have real prizes like an messenger bag. We traded in a ballpoint pen from PolarMax and I opened a box with a wood percussion instrument in it. I was fine with that and was ready to leave but Sage was about to throw a tantrum- she didn’t want it for some reason and was refusing to leave or calm down unless you got to try again- so they let her turn it in for a shot at a box of her own. There were no age rules and plenty of people came by together with each getting a shot at something.
She picked a box with a block in it. At first I thought this was a booby prize. But I turned it over and it said “iPod Touch”. OMG I couldn’t believe how cool this was. They made we wait so they could grab it from a cabinet then took a picture of me holding it. I thought it was because they wanted to post me as some kind of winner. Only then was I informed that they were going to post my photo on the web and tell people to find me and ‘steal’ the iPod. Talk about your crappy ideas of fun. Seriously? I would have to spend the rest of my day looking for stalkers over a prize that might not be mine? You could go back to your hotel and hide, the dude offered. I had meetings to attend, work to do and a three-year-old in tow! I should have handed the iPod right back to him and said no thanks. But then when he told me the other winners were never ‘found’; I thought who was going to spend an hour chasing me down – killing my afternoon and theirs? Some skinny ass kid with no life; that’s who. I was an easy target. I had a rambunctious preschooler and a giant stroller with me. No way to ditch those.
This stick figure comes up to me asking if I’m the “iPod lady” at about 5:40 p.m. I put on my best acting face, look confused and say, “uh, what?” My interview at Klymet tells him we’re in a meeting and he leaves. He honestly bought it. I think I’m clear. Turns out that at 6 he goes back to the “Underground Concierge” and whines about thinking he found me. So they all go back to where I was (and still am) and take my iPod….at 6:10. Ten minutes after the ‘game’ is supposed to end. See at 6 I thought I was home free. Jokes on me. As they leave, Sage starts crying because someone has taken her prize. I almost cried too. I couldn’t believe that they wouldn’t just say “never mind, keep it” or have a second iPod to give to the guy who found me so that they didn’t have to mess with my day and experience and we could both be winners.
That’s not a white elephant exchange btw. A white elephant is an exchange of a odd gift for another odd gift of equal value. What the company did was modify the rules on a regular gift exchange. You pick something, someone else can take it and you have the option of picking an unwrapped gift from the pile or taking someone else’s. But here, I couldn’t touch any of the already open boxes and take an iPod away from one of the earlier winners. 😦
The guy running the event told me I could come to the booth and pick out another box. Why? So I could get a keychain and feel even worse? Talk about your insult to injury. Ok, so I’m a bad sport. But, I’m sorry. You don’t act all excited for someone winning a cool gift only to take it away from them (without telling them the plan ahead of time) or make them spend the afternoon stressed about some stupid ‘game’ when they have work to do. I was an idiot to think I was actually going to be able to keep the iPod. That’s the worst part of it. Getting my hopes up. Guess I’ll have to go back to begging Santa for a iTouch.

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