While reading a New York Times bestseller book, “The Power of Habit: Why we do what we do in life and business” by Charles Duhigg, I think about the ways that stores and brands attempt (quite successfully) to influence our behaviors. It may be newspaper inserts in our papers or mailbox, or reward systems of stores (ie. Walgreen’s Balance Rewards) and brands (ie. Naturemade Vitamins used to have an awesome points for codes to earn coupons system). I currently have 7 out of 8 Monopoly game pieces for Safeway / Alberston’s current game board. I told my mom and she said, “We need to shop more!” I answered, “We would be behaving exactly as planned!”
In our busy lives though, and in the shift from Instant Winner games to on-line (remember when Reese’s peanut butter cups used to say on the cardboard insert, “Sorry, you are not a winner.” I never won (nor did ANYONE I know), but I also didn’t spend (waste) a lot of time trying to remember my log in password either!
With our incredibly busy lives, how do we determine if our time investment is worth the Sweepstakes winning possibility? Basically if you have never met anyone who has won ANY of these things, you are among the majority of us. And you have your answer. The truth is you are pretty much NOT going to win. So there has to be some other intrinsic value: excitement, fun, distraction, dreaming, etc. Or GIVING! Of course I prefer you also give the old fashioned way… with money! but be a RESPONSIBLE giver. Check out their responsible giving practices first: One tool is Charity Navigator.
Particularly difficult to decipher is the Coca Cola Rewards codes, precisely because they are SO HARD to read the way they are dotted lightly on the cardboard. I can’t tell if a letter is a U or a V, if a tall oval (0) is a number or a letter. And notoriously, the site does not seem to recognize my sign in the first FEW times I try. But I drink SO DARN MUCH Diet Coke that I hate to waste all those good changes at winning the grand prize.
Here’s how I handle it. 1) Store them up for awhile to do all at once, and 2) Chose the “Donate” options. If you ever wanted to give more to charities but haven’t had the money (or REALLY don’t want to and just say that to feel good), here is a chance to give about 0.17 – 0.30 per entry to a non-profit at no extra cost – other than your time. And you were about to waste your time on NOT winning. So go ahead – give a little!
These are AWESOME charity / non-profit choices: Special Olympics, Boys & Girls Club, USO, National Park Foundation, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, American Red Cross and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.