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How To Win A Contest

By Amil Niazi

Thursday December 15, 2005

Who the hell is winning these things? I won’t be getting the latest iPod for Christmas, because I don’t get anything for Christmas. But, like everyone else I’ve got superfluous technology envy, and I feel an underlying pining for one. Granted I’m a dinosaur when it comes to the latest gadget in the “now”, but I figured this was the time to try catching up. And everyone else has one, so the mini music box must be the best place to start. Unfortunately, my day job isn’t really a job, per se, so I’d have to have to get an iPod the old fashioned way; by winning it.

I figured it wouldn’t be too hard considering everyone from TD to Telus is just giving them away, but it’s the thick of holiday season and I’m still trying to find batteries for my portable tape deck. Apparently, despite its perky size and mobility, even the little white player comes with strings attached.

Telus says if you switch to high-speed Internet service they’ll give you an iPod Nano. Good thing I already subscribe to Telus high-speed, so I’ll just call Telus and get them to send the thing without any hassle. But as is the Telus way, long-standing customers don’t get shit. If you haven’t signed up for Telus in the last 90 days and you shackle yourself in to a three-year plan, then you can have an iPod if quantities last. Otherwise, the service representative will hang up on you.

This environmental discussion forum online promised an iPod Nano to a handful of people who registered online for the event. I was one of the first people to sign up, as I care for the environment, but of course the contest was only open to those who registered after me.
You have to register on this website, be American and buy a product and have a credit card—which makes the iPod not free.

A couple of hours worth of random searching led me nowhere, but after awhile I started to realise just how many of these fucking things were being thrown around. Apple certainly has the monopoly on small white mp3 players, so why is it giving so many away – or at least alleging to? Do these companies offering their pyramid scheme with a prize buy the thing themselves and then give them away? Is there a black market rip off machine that intercepts trucks, strictly for the online give-away trade? There certainly wasn’t a free Furbie with every Fido cellphone or a DVD player everytime you signed up for a Hotmail account, but there those Apple gadgets are.

I guess the old adage really is true, there is no such thing as a free iPod. No, in the spirit of holiday buying, there will be nothing given away. Like the matchstick girl peering in the window of a life not lived, I can google “free iPod” to my heart’s content and suffer in the cold of a pod-less existence. So if you’re looking for a freebie because you got the religion without presents, forget it. You’re just going to have to wait until next year when you can enjoy the starving good times of the “other” Christmas. When perhaps you will fashion a prayerPod out of old head scarves.