Ethical Entry: or How to avoid winner’s guilt.

Over the last few years I’ve become a regular enterer(?) of contests and seeker of freebies. Everyone loves something for nothing.

A problem has developed though if I win something. I feel uncomfortable entering future competitions from the same source. Part of me feels I’m exploiting their generosity and that I should give someone else a chance to win.  The same goes for freebies such as limited use game codes. I’ll be totally honest here, I also picture them thinking “he’s already won from us recently, the cheeky so-and-so!” and consider how it may make me look.

I’ve always been thoughtful of others (yes, I know how that sounds) and that even extends to companies. Now big corporate entities I can more easily ignore, but it niggles in the back of my mind that a smaller company only has a limited marketing spend and that word of mouth, and therefore sales, will only increase if there is a wider number of winners. Professional competition junkies aren’t the sort who will chat to their friends about the brand, product or their win and this exposure is the reason companies run competitions. They are promotions after all, ultimately designed to bring in more money. I want to help small companies, they provide jobs and often unique products/services and my winning more than once from them would narrow their promotion’s exposure. Sure it’s likely negligible the effect, but every little helps.

I have therefore found myself analysing competitions before I enter and thinking it over before I take advantage of freebies. Have I won/received something from them before? Do I really, REALLY want the prize? The thinking behind the last one is simple, if I win (or redeem) something I’m not that fussed about and the source has a more appealing prize in the future my “winner’s guilt” might make me feel awkward about entering. Also if I won a prize or claimed a limited freebie that I wasn’t particularly bothered about would I be depriving someone else who might enjoy and use it more? After all, it may just end up cluttering up the house unloved and not properly used.

I’ve noticed that winning a runners up prize doesn’t normally feel the same way. This is probably because the prizes are of lesser value and more people tend to win, but then most competitions I enter only have one level of prizes so this rarely happens.

I suppose overall you could say I take a karmic approach to the whole thing.


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