Thursday, April 07, 2011

$1000 Winner: A Short Story in Twice As Many Words Are Necessary

When I found out in late January that the place I'd worked for 24 years was folding, I kicked it into gear on the frugality front. I've never been careless with my money, but nor have I, admittedly, been a financial micro-manager.

Couponing! I grabbed a newspaper and poured over the ads. When all was said and done on that particular Sunday, I realized that I'd clipped coupons for crap I'd never buy in the first place. Spend $18 to save $2 on (not my usual) facial moisturizer? Howzabout I don't buy it all and put the $18 in the bank, smarty?

I was (blessedly) offered a job within 2 weeks of being unemployed. Still, facing unemployment was eye opening: I don't want to do it again, and financial awareness is high on my list of priorities: I need to knock out some debt and accrue some savings. Stat!

Couponing wasn't a total bust. I'll never be extreme, but the fact remains that there's no sense in paying "more" for anything. I created online accounts at my favorite stores and had ads e-mailed to me. I friended them on Facebook and followed them on Twitter. I may hit a weekly savings jackpot, but if not, there's no harm done.

A couple of weeks ago, Niemann Foods, the corporate office of my favorite grocery store, County Market, put an offer on Facebook: "Sign up for a drawing for $1000 worth of groceries!" Pfft! I'll bite. I signed up, and sent Clint and Diane a note about the opporunity.

Last Friday, April 1, I received a phone call from Pat at Niemann foods. Did I know why he was calling?

I knew immediately why he was calling: He was calling because it was April Fool's Day, and Clint had set up a friend to make me think I'd won $1000 worth of groceries. So I answered him animatedly, and hopefully not too snidely, "Did I win a thousand dollars!!?"

"You DID win $1000 dollars worth of groceries!!" he told me! "Congratulations!" I'm pretty sure my next words were shut up.

"Shut UP! Is this an April Fool's joke?" He assured me it was not, and that I could look up the phone number and call him back and he'd verify it in reverse. I was to go to my favorite County Market on Philo Road  in a week and pick up my loot!

I thanked him, hung up, called Clint, and accused him of jacking with me. Such a great actor he was, pretending he had no idea what I was talking about, $1000 worth of groceries.

I checked my caller ID, and did a reverse look-up online, and it did go to Niemann Foods in Quincy, IL. Meant nothing to a supergeek like me: There's an app out there that will call your phone with anyone's phone number in the caller ID. Someone is yanking. my. chain.

Or, maybe not.

Yeah. I won $1000 worth of groceries. How cool is that?


Thanks so much to Niemann Foods, and all of the great employees at County Market that scurried to deliver when I showed up this evening. This was so much fun, and will continue to be.

You don't know me, but I promise I'll pay it forward.


  1. Congrats! Doesn't it feel great to win something? Of course, I think that if I was a business, I may not notify the prize winner on April Fool's Day. :) Congrats again on winning.

  2. The thousand bucks no doubt comes out of their ad budget, and they could possibly have spent it better...

  3. You've paid it forward! I believe this is the Universe paying it forward to YOU.

    Oh man. I adore you.

  4. Seriously!!! I thought those contests were just so much bull...

  5. One Thousand Cheers of Awesomness!

    No better person deserving a win like this. Have fun shopping!!

  6. This is AWESOME!! What a well-deserved treat! I'm so happy for you. And congrats on the job!!

    Oh...and really CUTE DRESS, too!!!

    (Did I use enough exclamation points in this comment?!!!!)

  7. Yay! I love it when nice people win.

  8. Given how badly I needed the smile this morning, I'd say you were already starting to pay it forward. Can you buy wine and/or vodka or is that a no-no?

    And what Paria said, too!

  9. Hey it's Patrick and Congratulations again for winning! I think NerdGirl is right next time, I won't call on April Fool's Day. I was just really excited to tell the 10 people that won! It's great to hear your story and the other winner's stories about why they entered and how they didn't think they would even have a chance. Thank you for posting your blog on our facebook and sharing your story.
    Good luck and thank you for participating in the giveaway and shopping at County Market!

  10. NerdGirl: It DOES feel great, I've been kind of giddy!

    Larry, I know you meant to say they "could NOT" have spent their money better for advertising.

    Paria, adoreyaback!

    Jazz: Right? They're real!

    Nancy, oh, I WILL have fun shopping. Will be fun to see how far I can stretch the money.

    Danni, Nancy, Jim...yayy! Thanks.

    Patrick, thanks for stopping in. The April 1 announcement actually added to the fun--and rest assured I'll always remember the date when I tell the story (no doubt for years to come).

  11. Ha! I knew (KNEW! KNEW!) that you were due for some good luck. Yay for you - you SO deserve it!!

  12. Anonymous8:01 PM

    Wow, totally awesome. I am very glad you won the big prize.

  13. WOO HOO!! This is just friggng AWESOME!

    Congratulations Lori :D

    But hey, the April first revelation took away the "What??Me?? Won??" response, no?

  14. That would buy a kilo of bananas here!


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