Sunday, August 30, 2009

Days 9-13: Prizes!

Man, I am just terrible at keeping this up regularly. Oh well. I realized the other day that you guys have no idea what I'm even playing for this year, so here are the big prizes, from worst to best:

First up is a $5 Subway Cash Card!

Whoa! I won one of these last year, and it was very exciting. Most people's first reaction to this is something along the lines of "Great, that'll work perfectly to buy one of Subway's famous $5 Footlongs!" Not so, unfortunately. You see, there happens to be some ludicrous "sales tax" involved, because a certain someone can't keep his dirty socialist hands off my sandwiches.

"Thanks for the 47 cents, comrade!"

So that aspect of it is a little disappointing.

Next up, a Scrabble board game! I won two of these last year. They had little to no impact on my life, aside from one game played while rather intoxicated.

Pug groins. Aaaaw.

I'm not sure what I would do with another one.

Third, there's the oddly named "bodybugg system." This is apparently a weight-control system, so again, it didn't seem like a very appropriate prize for me. Then I saw this quote from that page:

There’s an electronic thermometer inside your armband that monitors how hot you are.

Finally, a way to confirm my suspicions with science. Plus, the pickup lines practically write themselves.

"Actually, it says you're about average. Nevermind."

Next up, there's a $500 Champs Sports Gift Card. Now, I'm not really a sports person, so this seemed pretty useless to me at first. But I did some poking around on the Champs Sports website, and found...

Horizontal parachutes! Fuck yeah! It turns out these are incredibly useful to have if you are being kidnapped. That way, your would-be abductor will have to work on building explosive speed and sprinting power if he really wants to snatch you away. Always be prepared.

Now we crack the top four. The fourth best prize is a Live Nation VIP concert experience. This is another one that sounds pretty sweet at first. Then I went to the Live Nation section of Subway's website, and saw that the two big acts they're advertising are Creed and Nickelback.

Holy shit, keep me the hell away from this so-called prize. Even worse is the fact that if I do win this, I'm ineligible for any of the other top four prizes. Please don't do that to me, Subway. I beg you.

Chad Kroeger literally farts flames. Never pull his finger.

Moving on, the third-best prize is a Beaches Resorts Vacation Prize Package. Surely there can't be any downside to that, right? Let's just take a look at the fine print...

Prize includes a Beaches Resorts prize certificate good for a 5-day/4-night stay for two (2) adults and two (2) children under 15 years of age OR a trip for three (3) adults and one (1) child under 15 years of age

Wait, what? Am I required to bring at least one child with me? Shit, where can I get a cheap one?

Hmmm. Maybe I should have searched in "baby & kid stuff."

We're almost there. The second-best prize is apparently a 3rd generation Toyota Prius. As I've mentioned before, I can't drive. In fact, I've avoided getting a driver's license because of a crippling fear that I might someday be made a designated driver. As a further precaution, I have a team of doctors on hand 24/7 to keep my blood alcohol content just above .08% at all times.

Still, it could be fun to have friends of mine drive me around in it. I just hope there's enough room for my doctors.

Dr. Nutty has a PhD in Shenanigans.

Finally, there's the grand prize of $100,000. This is basically the one prize for which I have no complaints. Unfortunately, as I've touched upon before, the odds of winning it are roughly one in thirty billion. To put that in perspective, it's significantly more likely that this asteroid will wipe out an entire continent in 2014.

Oh well.

Daily winnings: Since last time, I've won two small drinks and two cookies.

Total winnings so far: Five small drinks, four cookies, and four 3-month Club Pogo memberships.

Currently listening to: Deerhunter - Cryptograms

Monday, August 24, 2009

Days 5-8: Jumping the gun

Sorry I haven't updated this thing in a few days. The truth is, I have been far too drunk these last few nights. I was so bombed, a stranger approached me and asked if my name was Afghanistan. I was so housed, I began walking with a limp and dickishly offering medical advice. I was so shitfaced, I was offered a role in a German porno.

But I digress. In these last three or four days, I walked into two separate Subways and saw this sign out by the register:

That's right: both of these places were claiming to have run out of Scrabble letters, just a week into the contest. When I first saw this sign, my jaw dropped, spilling out bits of lettuce and tomatoes. My heart sank as I realized this meant the end of my Subway Scrabbling. Thankfully, at both locations, it turned out to be a lie. They had plenty of cups left with game pieces on them.

I'm guessing they put those out there just as a preemptive measure. That way, once they actually do run out of Scrabble cups, they can just shrug, point to the sign, and say, "Hey, we warned you" to the next guy in line. And no one can get mad (except for me; don't scare me like that, Subway).

Thankfully, I'm still winning stuff. Since I last posted, it's been another small drink, two cookies, and, in a development that should surprise absolutely no one, two more 3-month memberships to Club Pogo. At this point I should basically just rename the blog, "How to Get a Club Pogo Membership, Forever." I already have a year's worth of membership there, meaning I could conceivably still be taking advantage of the site when next year's Subway Scrabble rolls around. Ridiculous.

Here's the game board so far:

I'm getting there.

Daily winnings: A small drink, two cookies, and two 3-month Club Pogo memberships.

Total winnings so far: Three small drinks, two cookies, and four 3-month Club Pogo memberships.

Currently listening to: Boy In Static - Immortal

Friday, August 21, 2009

Days 3-4: Why it sucks

Things were different last year.

Back then, I was practically showered with Scrabble letters. Anytime I bought one of my three daily sandwiches, a new letter was right there on the wrapper. Throw in an extra letter or two from the drinks I bought, and it was not uncommon for me to be getting four or five new letters every day.

But not even fast food promotional games are recession-proof. Allow me to explain. This year, there's just this one code printed on every sandwich wrapper. It's the same for every single sandwich you get, and while you can use it to get certain letters, it can only be used four times, for those four pre-determined letters. Two more codes can be obtained from bags of chips and Subway's packages of sliced apples, but each of those can only be used once, again for two specific letters. Now, obviously, none of those six letters are gonna be worth a shit -- otherwise, Subway might as well just include free prizes inside their sandwiches.

"Five Dollar Footlong" should refer to the content of the sandwich.

All that leaves, then, is buying drinks. They actually have letters on them the way sandwiches used to. But since drinks aren't exactly a huge part of my Subway consumption habits, I get, on average, only two new letters every day. That's like half of what I was pulling in last year.

So in other words, this year I'll have half as many opportunities to win as I had last year. And keep in mind the odds of winning the $100,000 jackpot are less than 1 in 30 billion. You're basically more likely to be simultaneously struck by lightning and attacked by a shark while Jessica Alba attempts to pay you for sex.

That said, despite Subway Scrabble's relative shittiness this year, I continue to give it my all. I've been buying drinks -- medium size, mind you, so I get an extra letter -- even when I'm not thirsty. I realize this whole thing is basically a big scheme to sell drinks, and I still can't stop.

But all of that is okay, because I'm still winning stuff.

Daily winnings: Yesterday, another small drink, and today, another 3-month membership. They're really trying to get rid of those things.

Total winnings so far: Two small drinks and two 3-month memberships.

Currently listening to: Nine Inch Nails - At the Heart of It All

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Day 2: One in a million

Miraculously, I won something again today. It was a 3-month subscription to Club Pogo, the same website full of online games I won subscriptions to last year. I don't feel too special, though, because according to Subway, they're giving out a million of them (and no, that's not an exaggeration; I mean literally one million of these goddamn things).

So with Subway handing these out to pretty much anyone who manages to leave the restaurant without choking to death, it's not exactly the rarest prize out there. It's definitely a better catch than yesterday's free drink (which I had a 1 in 12 chance of winning), but it's tough for me to figure out exactly what my odds of winning this one were.

According to Subway, "The odds of winning an Online Instant Win Prize depend on the total number of eligible entries received during the online game period and the time they are entered during the online game period. Winners are randomly time-selected at intervals of approximately 1 second." Now, this may come as a shock to you, but I am not a smart man. I once tried to pierce my ears with a hole puncher from my dad's office. Another time, I tried to start a blog about a fast food promotional game. I'll tell you all about that sometime.

So I'm not ashamed to admit that I can't make any sense of that explanation up there. I have no idea whether or not it would help my chances to enter my codes at odd hours of the night, but due to my chronic insomnia (which may be related to the blood currently pouring out of my earlobes), I'll probably end up doing that anyway.

To be perfectly frank, this Club Pogo deal is not a very good prize for me right now. This summer alone, I've already wasted countless hours beating Grand Theft Auto IV, Icewind Dale II, Splinter Cell: Double Agent, two Monkey Island games, and you know what, I'm just gonna go ahead and stop there. What I meant to say was that I don't play video games because I am too busy working out my muscles, for the ladies.

But maybe there's a bright side to this paid membership. After all, everyone knows how difficult it is to find free online games on the Internet. Maybe if I'm lucky they'll give me a free AOL subscription next.

Here's the game board for today. Not too much has changed:

Daily winnings: One 3-month membership.

Total winnings so far: One 21 oz. drink and one 3-month membership.

Currently listening to: Modwheelmood - Mhz

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Surprise! (Day 1, Year 2)

Hello again. As some of you may recall, I suffer from a crippling addiction to Subway sandwiches. Last year, the naïve young man that I was decided to try his luck at the restaurant's latest promotional game, Subway Scrabble. As the weeks went by, that excitement slowly turned into boredom, and eventually became full-blown disappointment.

You see, I toiled for Subway Scrabble. I made sure to eat at least three Subway sandwiches on each of the promotion's 50 or so days. If you were to take all of those sandwiches and lay them on the ground end-to-end, the resulting line would be longer than the width of a football field. The sight would also be eerily reminiscent of the time I went streaking across the field during a Giants game (three players tripped). But that's neither here nor there.

My point is, it was difficult for me. Many times, I contemplated just giving up. Every day it became harder to bring myself to continue. Sometimes, in the madness of my despair, I even imagined that the game itself was crying out for a violent end to its meaningless existence.

And while I won a shitload of free Subway food, the game's only lasting contribution to my life was two extra copies of a board game I'm pretty sure I already had. Needless to say, I felt like my months of brand loyalty hadn't exactly paid off.

And yet, here I am again. Maybe I'm just extremely bored. Maybe I have certain masochistic tendencies. Or maybe the optimist inside me hasn't been completely beaten into submission yet. Whatever the reason, I have returned.

This year, the prizes are shittier, the game pieces are harder to come by, and the whole contest seems poised to be an even bigger debacle than the colossal douche-fuck that was last summer's Subway Scrabble. I can't guarantee that I'll win much, or that I'll even be inspired to update the blog as often as I'd like. But I know one thing for sure: with my insightful prose, my rapier wit, and my even rapier methods of seducing women, it's bound to be an adventure.

Here's the game board for today:

Daily winnings: "One 21 oz. FUZE Fresh Brewed Iced Tea." Not too shabby for my first day.

Total winnings so far: That one 21 oz. iced tea.

Currently listening to: Boy In Static - Where It Ends

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Days 45-53: The Beginning of the End

Here are some new things to report:

First, somehow, I won another Scrabble board game. I have no idea how, since, as I said before, the odds are less than 1 in 58,000. I should not be winning multiple prizes with those odds.

There's also another potentially interesting aspect of it. I don't keep track of where each game piece of mine comes from (I just enter them all online each night), so there's a good chance that the winning game piece was one of the ones I found on the floor of a Subway that day. (Yes, I resorted to some less than sanitary measures to get game pieces, such as taking game pieces from cups in the trash, and even digging one out from the drain beneath the fountain drinks. I'm not proud of it.)

If that's the case, it feels kind of like that scene in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in which Charlie finds a silver dollar in the gutter and uses it to buy the candy bar with the winning ticket inside. Except instead of becoming the owner of a candy factory with woefully unsafe working conditions and a probably illegal workforce of midgets who work for cacao beans, I won a $13 board game.

Personally, I think I might have come out on top of Charlie on this one. At the very least, my prize is much less likely to earn me a lawsuit.

Secondly, on a sadder note, Subway Scrabble basically ended today. Yesterday was supposed to be the last day on which game pieces would be distributed, but, just as I predicted, one of the guys at Subway this morning was giving out the cups with game pieces on them anyway. Then the manager showed up, and all of those cups mysteriously disappeared.

What this means is that I have until October 13th (I think) to give away all of my free cookies and whatnot. After that, the coupons won't be accepted. So basically, if you're reading this and you happen to personally know me, you should start coming to Subway with me often these next couple weeks, because there is a lot of free shit in it for you.

I plan on running the numbers on my game pieces and getting some statistics together, so look for that in the coming days, if I'm not too busy with work (I produce amateur pornographic videos in my dorm room and sell them to family members. Strangely, the current financial crisis has led to a dramatic increase in sales).

As one final note, I'm not sure what I'm gonna do with this blog in this new post-Subway Scrabble era. I suppose I could just start writing about whatever the fuck I want to, but that could be odd, since the blog was started with a pretty specific purpose in mind. As always, I'm open to your thoughts and suggestions, so feel free to leave a comment or something. At the very least, it will make me feel less like a lonely man who yells at his computer about sandwiches on a semi-regular basis.

Daily winnings: Since last time, I've won six cookies, three small drinks, and a Scrabble board game.

Total winnings: Twenty-five cookies, fifteen small drinks, four bags of chips, one six-inch, two three-month memberships, a $5 Cash Card, and two Scrabble board games.

Currently listening to: Skinny Puppy - Use Less

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Days 41-44: Subway: Canadian edition

So, Subway Scrabble will soon be coming to an end here in the good old U.S.A. (people call my room "The United States of Anal." I cannot elaborate, for legal reasons). But not all of you need despair, because Canadian Subway Scrabble is in full swing. Let's take a closer look at it, and how it differs from the version played here.

First of all, these Canadians are so proud of their stronger dollar, they just had to wave it in all of our fat faces. That's why they decided to one-up our $100,000 jackpot with their very own $250,000 jackpot. Similarly, they offer $15 Cash Cards, putting my hard-won $5 card to shame. Yes, we're all very impressed, Canada. Keep it in the pants.

But these exorbitant cash prizes seem to have come at somewhat of a cost to the other prizes. For example:

Wow! My very own Game Machine Console?! I can't wait to connect it to my television set, right next to my Digital Video Disc player. Verily, all of my peeps (and even some of my homies) will marvel at my elite skills. Holler.

Notice that they never tell you what the actual console is. Neither do the official rules, so I'm guessing Subway is just as clueless as the rest of us. Judging from the above photo, though, it appears to involve a pretty close ripoff of the Xbox 360 controller:

So I guess it'll be kind of like the store-brand version of an Xbox 360. Good luck finding games that work with it.

In a similar vein, there's this prize:

I shouldn't even have to tell you this, but that MP3 Player looks like exactly an iPod that needs to lay off the cheese fries. Except it's not an iPod at all, and it probably doesn't work with iTunes. Who knows, maybe it comes with its own iTunes ripoff, similarly bulging in the belly area.

Next up:

Okay, first of all: I don't want to be able to smell the breath of any of those bands. Especially not 3 Doors Down, if the rumors are true.

The offical rules elaborate a little more: "Each prize will consist of two tickets to a concert. Talent and concert venue to be chosen and announced by Contest Sponsor at a later date, but will be scheduled no later than October 19, 2009. Winners are responsible for all travel and expenses related to claiming and participating in this prize, including but not limited to any travel and accommodations."

Wow. So you get two tickets for a concert by what could very well be a shitty, shitty band, at a date that could easily conflict with your schedule. Will the venue even be located anywhere near the winner? Because they're making kind of a big deal about travel expenses. Methinks the corporate entity doth protest too much.

Basically, I'd probably end up selling this one on eBay. For less than the price Ticketmaster would charge.

Finally, we come to the big one:

This seems like a pretty sweet prize at first. Then you realize that the U.S. version of the game offers this car:

A 2008 Toyota Highlander Hybrid, with seating for five people (or seven, if you go for the optional extra seats). The car Canada's offering, on the other hand, only seats two people, and has a mere "Micro Hybrid Drive."

Basically, the Canadian car is a good prize if you only have one close friend and nothing more than a passing interest in your environmental impact. (On the bright side, it can fit a near-infinite number of imaginary friends, clown car-style.) Hopefully, this vehicle will make you less lonely and more concerned about social issues as the soft seats soak up your bitter tears.

Anyway. My $5 Cash Card arrived, and even though I sent a lengthy, deeply personal missive with my submission of the game pieces, they included nothing more than a form letter informing me of the "Scrabbletastic" news (yes, they actually used that word). Dicks.

Daily winnings: Since we last spoke, four cookies.

Total winnings so far: Nineteen cookies, twelve small drinks, four bags of chips, one six-inch, two three-month memberships, a $5 Cash Card, and a Scrabble board game.

Currently listening to: Azure Ray - Rise