When FREE PRIZES are costly. The games companies play to get your personal info.

I took my wife to a home two weeks ago to look at some things for own home. We are going to remodel the bathroom (it's not working correctly) I may attempt the job myself, but we took a look to see what the pros have to offer. At 75% of the stands the vendors were offering some sort of FREE PRIZE. At first this looks fine, why not? who doesn't want a new 42" flat screen? But a second thought made me realize that every time you enter one of these seemingly harmless contests you are actually volunteering to give a vendor your personal information such as:

  1. Your Name - allows an advertiser to target you directly, "Hey Jim, I have a great deal.." this gives them an advantage of developing a personal relationship with you even if you don't want new blinds
  2. Your Address - allow an advertiser to mail you 'coupons' and ideas for every season and holiday. These flyers can almost be bad as pornography for nesting wives who go nuts over the setup of a cottage kitchen
  3. Your Telephone Number - now the advertiser has made it into your home (unless you have CallerID)
  4. The Best Time to call - the advertiser will be relentless, calling you all the time until you tell them to leave you alone
Some free contests even go on with more questions to get extra information - usually stylized toward they vendor you were at, may be a short survey or demographic (age, gender, race, income, etc)
A lot of stores now ask for your phone number and address info at the checkout, many stores also have special clubs (where you earn points for spending money) they try to brainwash you and make you believe that the more you spend they more you save when the opposite is true.
This is dangerous, especially if you are trying to save money instead of spend money. Is it really worth being harassed by companies for a slim chance at a decent prize? Always be on the look out for ulterior motives, especially when there is a FREE OFFER. Always read the fine print and ask yourself if you are really getting a good deal.

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