Paula and S. have recently got back from a fortnight´s holiday in Australia.
It was free.
When S. was teenage, he became obsessed with entering consumer competitions. You know the kind of thing - ¨Answer these 4 simple questions and create a witty phrase to promote our product¨. Free advertising copy for the manufacturer - the cost of a consumer competition must be much less than contracting an advertising agency to come up with a witty byline. Dr Crippen has just posted on Durex´s (the condom manufacturer) very successful online competition to get free publicity material ... I can imagine the Top Twenty will be used all over the UK ... they are witty and smart.
And, of course the vendor/manufacturer, now with you postal address which it could sell on, could spam you with junkmail.
The postman would deliver half a sack of mail to their house. The hall was flooded. The postman would deliver an entire sack of mail, patiently pushing it through the door. They couldn´t get through the front door. The Post Office had to send a van to deliver all S.´s junkmail.
It was clearly a cry for help that his mother and step-father did not understand at the time ... but that is another post.
But he has since got rather good at it - he has won a car (promptly sold), a trip to the World Cup, had a recipe used in advertising by a multinational food manufacturer and numerous smaller prizes. He has become more selective in the competitions he enters. He reads magazines dedicated to the Competition Culture.
A free holiday for two in Australia was the first prize in a recent competition held by Fosters´ Lager. He won.
And kindly offered to take Mum. Apparently, they had a wonderful time but it almost ended in disaster ...
On the return trip a change of flights at Bangkok. Paula suddenly collapsed.
They feared a broken pelvis or hip but she continued back to the UK in a wheelchair.
She underwent radiotherapy to treat cervical cancer a couple of years ago - apparently the collapse was due to muscle-wastage brought on by the radiotherapy.