Pen and Brush Logo

Pen and Brush Publishers

Easter 2004 - The Bunny that got away.

Easter is just around the corner and I'm sure you've been entering those hamper competitions at your local supermarket. Boy, there are a lot of competitions at this time of the year. May be it has to do with the rabbit being synonymous with good luck and prosperity.  Speaking of luck, we just had the $19Million first prize in lotto on the weekend. I don't know why, but I always buy a ticket even though I know the odds of winning the first prize is a whopping 8,145,060:1.

I was only following the First Law of Comping - You have to be in it to win it. But I also know that if it is hard to enter then it is easier to win (The Second Law). For me, walking up to the counter and handing over $25 was a pretty easy task. I think if I was going to be lucky, I'm going to be lucky, no matter what the odds. Some may call it being fatalistic. Others would say I'm a dreamer. How did I arrive at this thought?

Six months ago, I was down at the local shopping centre where they were running a promotion. Buy $10 or more from any shop in the centre and get an entry form to win a trip to Tasmania. The shopping centre has a Coles, where it is very easy to spend more than $10. What I noticed is that the shoppers at Coles don't seem to be asking for the entry forms. Yet in the other stores (being smaller), there were more interest in the competition. I put it down to the entry form not being at the cash register but at the Service Counter. So I walked up to claim my form but the attendant was busy on another register. Seeing the forms, I grabbed to entire booklet, signaling to the attendant that I had helped myself to a form and he nodded with approval. Well, I managed to get a near full booklet, some 84 entry forms!

I walked over to the barrel and peeked in. I guessed there were about 1000 entries. So my odds are looking good, 84:1000 or one in 11 chances. All excited, I rushed home and filled out the forms, but I did not put all the entries into the barrel in one shot. I spread it over several days, hoping that my entries were well dispersed.

Well, I didn't win and I was extremely disappointed. I did everything correctly. I followed the three Laws of Comping, but that little rabbit foot was not helping. Not to despair, a week later I did win $900 worth of DVDs, that's 31 DVDs with one entry.

It was then that I was convinced the only way I was going to win was to get those entries in. There is a statistical explanation to these random draws. If you look at my chances of winning the shopping centres draw, then it is one in 11. But if you consider the chances of winning any four random draw competition, the odds will be 1:11 or 1:x or 1:y or 1:z . Where x, y and z are chances in other draws. So the chance of winning any one of these four draws are, 4 in 11+x+y+z. Some competitions will tell your chances of winning, but most will depend on how many entries they receive. Here's another clue to increasing your chances. I have discussed this extensively in my book.

Should I have entered 84 times without winning anything? Looking at it in isolation, then the effort may seem to be wasted. Let's assume that I put in one entry in each of the four competitions, each with 1000 entries. The odds of winning any one competition are 4:4000 or 1 in 1000. By putting in 84 entries in the first draw, the odds of winning any of the four competitions is 87:4000 or 1 in 46. Which makes sense, and that's why I won the DVDs.

Old Blogs but they are still a gem.

The World Game aka The World Cup
Once every 4 years ... Germany here I come!

My 15 Minutes of Fame
It was fun and a great story for the grand kids.

Swings and Roundabouts
Don't despair if you don't win the first time around.

The Winning Zone
Are you in the space?

There's Always Won Smartass
My Winning 25WOL - NOT!

Easter 2004
The Bunny that got away.

Play it again Ralph
Of all the gin joints in the world ...

Valentine's Day 25 Words or Less
Don't count the bunny before they hop ...

Should I use a PO Box address or a street address?
A reader's question.

El Gordo
The El Gordo or Fat One is probably the biggest lottery in the world!

Sorbent Grand Slam competition
The Sorbent Grand Slam competition has extremely desirable prizes, including a choice of Grand Slam trips to the value of $40,000.


Classic Children's Book

Published in 1993, it is still going strong.

Trip To Town