Saturday, 2 July 2016

The Secret Life of a Comper

Angie here.

Lauren seems to have been putting me to shame with her many posts and I have been lacking for which I apologise.  However I am here to kick off the month of July with a little recap of the last three months in a very enjoyable hobby of mine - comping.

Yes comping.  Comping is the hobby of entering, and hopefully winning, competitions.  The very first competition I remember winning was when I was a child, probably around 7 or 8 and I won a children's book called Ursula Bear (which is still available today I believe).  It was a spot the difference competition in my nan's newspaper and I remember the complete delight I had when I found out I had won.

Over the years I dabbled with entering competitions.  The odd Take a Break entry here, an occasional postcard there but nothing ever serious and certainly no more wins until I remember seeing an advert for a competitions listing magazine.  Don't ask me where I saw it but I did see it and I took out a subscription with Compers News and you can find out more about this amazing magazine here

The latest issue

It's a monthly magazine filled with listings of over 400 competitions and prize draws every month.  The difference between a competition and a prize draw is that by rights a competition should have some form of question that the entrant needs to get right before they have a chance of winning, even if it's something so simple as name the first three letters of the English alphabet.  A prize draw is simply the electronic equivalent of names in a hat where every entrant has an equal chance of winning.  However over the years the two have become one and the same and to be honest, it's never really bothered me if I have to answer a question or not.

There are various methods of entering a competition these days from the long standing postcard entries to text and online entries which are far more prevalent in this day and age of technology advancement.  There are still purchase necessary comps, which is when you have to buy a specific product to enter, mostly these are ones which have codes on the packaging which you enter online or by text and hope you picked up a winning packet of crisps or loo roll.  I try and only enter these kind of competitions if I will eat/drink/use the product involved.  I don't fancy having six bags of dog food in the spare bedroom with no dog to eat it just to win a cuddly toy.  That being said I developed an unhealthy addiction to Rice Krispie Squares last year during their Hunger Games promotion.  I was hoping for the main prize of a trip to the USA, but settled for a pin badge instead (and several pounds of extra weight).

This photo won me a year supply of hand wash
Also there are what we call 'creative comps' which instead of just filling in your details and crossing your fingers, there is usually some form of 'task' that needs to be done.  The most common example of these are the tiebreakers, but I find it quite difficult to come up with something witty that would make my entry stand out and not surprisingly I have yet to win anything from one of these types of comps, although to be honest I don't enter that many of them as my brain can't cope with the effort.  I do however enter photo comps from time to time, as I love taking photographs and don't mind making a fool of myself once in a while to try and gain a prize or two.

That being said most of my wins come down to luck.  The competitions I enter the most are simple prize draws.  Just enter my details, cross my fingers and hope that computer selects my name as the winner.  When I started comping as a hobby seriously back in 2004, the wins were very thin on the ground.  Maybe a t-shirt or a book a year, certainly nothing to get excited about but it was still a fun hobby and there was always the element of 'It could be me'.  However I never really told people what my hobby was, I guess I was embarrassed by it, people never really understood how it could be a hobby although my nan always entered Take A Break but never really with the idea that she could win, whereas I always entered believing I had as good a chance as anyone else (which I do). My philosophy is the only competition you can't win is the one you don't enter.  Certainly my family didn't really take me seriously, quite often I heard the cry of 'You'll never win, no-one ever wins these things'  Over the years they have changed their tune considerably, especially as my hobby has benefited them on occassion, in particular my niece and nephew have had toys and things although I still owe my mum a good prize. Now I'm more likely to hear 'What have you won now?' from them.

  My biggest win came just before I went on holiday in May when I was fortunate to win £3000 worth of kitchen appliances which consisted of a huge fridge freezer, a tumble dryer and a washing machine (which is actually the second washing machine I have won).  Other notable wins have been a bike for my niece, tickets to see Michael Ball in concert, £1000 John Lewis voucher and various other smaller prizes like DVD's, books, toys, t-shirts etc.

So here is a brief round up of the prizes I won in the last 3 months.  And I've already got a start on the next three months videos as I'm waiting on delivery of another book, a £10 cheque and a bundle of Le Creuset goodies arriving that I've already been notified I've won.

And then there is always a chance of a surprise parcel arriving that I have no prior notice of.  That's one of the joys of comping, you never know what the postman will bring.

1 comment:

  1. I always get excited for you when you win. And I'm glad you won that pin badge because I have it now! hehe. That photo of you for the hand wash comp is still one of my favourites, I just adore your silliness. I really do need to find out if anything like compers news exists in Canada.