Thu | Dec 8, 2016

Not all prizes are created equal

Published:Monday | January 26, 2015 | 12:00 AM

First off the bat, I don't win things.

No matter how many competitions I've entered, whether deliberately (entering a promotion at my favourite fast-food outlet or buying a raffle) or unknowingly (the gate prize at an event or some surprise shopper thing), I just don't win. The only prize I ever got was a coffee table book on another Caribbean island, which, because of the time between when it was printed and when I got it, didn't have the then prime minister in it! By the way, the main prize at that particular event was a trip or something like that. What a difference!

Anyway, I've always seen these various competitions and I always wonder, why would you give a car for a prize? I know Jamaicans love the 'new car smell' and all that, but we have to be practical. The winner might actually have a) car fi stone dawg already, b) a car nicer than the one they just won, c) can't drive, or d) can drive, but don't live in an area where driving the car home is possible or at least comfortable. Can you imagine trying to navigate a brand new 'Bimma' or something like that through the crater-filled, pothole-ridden, bush track you call your road to your gate? No. The value of a car decreases the second you roll it out of the lot, but such meteoric fall in the price is not recommended when considering resale.

Of course, the option to the winner is to sell the vehicle and get some dough. So, since the majority of Jamaicans are more likely to want the good old cash, why not just give them cash from the beginning? Is it easier to give them a car? Don't see how, but then I don't own a business and when I give anything away, I just leave a note on my work desk saying "help yourselves". Some of these companies are making tons of dollars, so surely a $1-, $2- or $3-million prize would be better than giving them a car that costs equal the amount or even two million more.

But still, I suppose it's better to win something you might not be able to use immediately or at its maximum potential, than to not win anything. I suppose if I won a 'crissas' I could use my current car as a taxi. God knows I would need all the cash available to deal with the costs of a high-end vehicle. Giving me a house? I can rent it if I already own one. If you don't eat rice but win a rice cooker, you can always make it a Christmas gift. We're Jamaicans, we'll make it work.

By the way, that coffee table book? I found use for it. Swatted lizards and roaches like wow! It's somewhere in the house now gathering dust. But I did read it though, good stuff. Later!

• Tell me what you've won at daviot.kelly@gleanerjm.com