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Prize Pigs and Competition Junkies

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I learned a new comping acronym the other day – WEM (thanks Tracy!). It simply means ‘winning email’, something we all hope to find each time we check our inboxes. This discovery then got me thinking about comping as a hobby. It is a strange one when you start to look at it; what with all these WEL’s and WOL’s. Although we like to call ourselves ‘compers’ many refer to us in more derogatory terms such as ‘prize pigs’ or ‘competition junkies’.

Prize Pigs are actually those compers who will do almost anything to win a prize including cheating, putting in multiple entries against the rules and buying votes: the most selfish and irritating comper to have around. Let’s hope there are not too many of these in your circle of friends or family.

Competition Junkies on the other hand could possibly be a reasonably accurate description of some of us. So, is comping addictive? Yes, it can be. According to the dictionary an addiction is “a state characterised by compulsive engagement in rewarding behaviour or compulsive use, despite adverse consequences”. This would, of course, presuppose that by entering competitions over a period of time you win enough prizes for it to be rewarding or reinforcing. Obviously without any wins at all (even if small) many would simply give up! Or do they? As for adverse consequences – I suppose like any addictive behaviour if your comping was addictive it could affect your work or relationships, but hey, its not drugs, alcohol or porn and it generally doesn’t cost anything to enter most of them, so….I’ll leave that up to you. Is comping gambling then?

The dictionary defines gambling “to stake or risk money or anything of vale on the outcome of something involving chance”. For a start with comping you don’t usually stake a wager with money (or anything else of value except your time). Most competitions are free to enter. It is only raffles, lotteries, lottos and sweepstakes that involve any cost. So they are a form of gambling but not competitions, especially those that require a thoughtful or skilful answer or entry. And you don’t really ever loose – you just don’t win! Aside from the idea that comping can be addictive, what is it then that draws us back, day after day, to seek out competitions, enter them and then wait with baited breath for those wonderful prizes to arrive at our front door or in our letterboxes? Here are some of my thoughts:

  1. Comping doesn’t cost anything which is great for those (like me) who live on limited income or at least not much spare cash. It’s a low cost hobby.
  2. Comping can be quite social if you find others who share your interest and it can be a great conversation starter.
  3. Comping can be lucrative if you are prepared to stick to it and learn how to create the best entries you can as well as many of the other ‘tricks of the trade’.
  4. Winning prizes can be a wonderful way of acquiring something you can’t otherwise afford, like a holiday or to use for a present for someone else (movie tickets are well received in my family) or in the case of food or restaurant vouchers – a free meal. The more wins you get, the more likely you are to ‘get hooked’. As I said before, it can certainly be addictive!
  5. Competitions are easy and quick to find and enter especially online these days (what did we do before the internet or iphone?). And there are so many of them, we are really spoilt for choice.

I would love to hear your thoughts on comping and what it is that engages you the most and keeps you going. Feel free to share your comments below or in the Forum. 

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