Spencer in a McNopoly-induced coma
I recently saw an ad on television for the annual McDonald’s Monopoly promotion that sports the slogan, “When is a Big Mac better than a Big Mac? When it comes with a million bucks.” Awww, yeah, damn straight it is. Who wouldn’t want to eat a $1 million Big Mac? But what the ad should say is, when is a Big Mac better than a Big Mac? When you have to eat a million Big Macs. That’s right, using basic arithmetic it’s painfully clear that you have to eat a lot of Big Macs to increase your odds of winning at McNopoly. In fact, to guarantee even odds of winning that million dollar ticket, you would have to spend about $35 million on 10,000,000 of the Mickey D flagship sandwiches.
But this isn’t the first time that math has shattered my universe (the 1:12 female to male ratio in Mammoth was the first).
In 2008, I was lured into eating Subway again for the first time since they discontinued the Sub Club stamp promotion back in 2005. At the time, Jared and his snug fitting jeans seduced me back into the store by slyly introducing the $5 Foot Long promo (complete with a jingle that I still can’t get out of my head).
Yet every time I purchased a $5 Foot Long. the price never came out to $5. It was more like $6. This is mainly due to the fact certain sandwiches are priced slightly higher than 5 and you obviously have to add tax to the total. But that doesn’t mean the ad isn’t misleading. To this day I still haven’t gotten a foot long that equals $5.
But enough about Jared and his foot long.
What’s even more misleading than falsely appraised hoagies, are the onslaught of ads for McDonald’s Monopoly that claim your chances of winning are 1 in 4. To be clear, you actually have better odds of reaching the summit of Mount Everest (1 in 3 – with sherpa and oxygen) than winning a 3-month trial subscription to Pogo.com (one of McNopoly’s many awesome prizes).
The more I looked into the McNopoly game the more I realized that we are all getting hamburglared. In order to grasp this nationwide McFoolery, let’s start with something a bit simpler than a $1 million check. How about that $5 Wal-mart gift card?
Your odds of winning the gift card are not 1:4, more like 1:566 (according to McDonald’s website). So in order to guarantee you win that 5 bucks, that means you have to spend $374.87, eat 101 Big Macs, juice up on 54,270 calories and pack on 15.51 pounds. But hey, come on fatty, you won 5 bucks!
If you don’t want to gain 15 pounds to win $5, you could go for something a little easier, such as those 20 free photo prints from Snapfish.com. In this scenario your odds of McGlory are considerably better, 1:151. So if you want to snap a few photos of your junk (a la Brett Favre) before you can no longer see it anymore, you would have to eat 71 Big Macs which, of course, is paired with ingesting 38,340 calories and stacking on 10.95 pounds. But the best thing about winning that prize is you only have to spend $264.83 (for a prize valued at $4). To make matters worse, some prizes are only available with certain items on the menu. So in order for me to win that Xbox 360, I’ll have to part ways with my Big Mac diet and subject my arteries to a steady diet of Angus burgers and large fries. And, for Ronald’s sake, there’s only 3,000 of these game pieces in circulation. S*@t, man, I don’t even know what the hell Angus means … it sounds WAY too much like Haggis for me to be comfortable with it.
Sure, McDonald’s can make all the rules; it’s their game. But that doesn’t mean this promotion isn’t as nebulous as their sauce policy; .25 cents per tub after the first two.
Historically, McDonald’s hasn’t always played by its own rules. According to a Aug, 2001 article from CNN, the game was halted in 2000 because of an internal fraud scheme set up by Simon Marketing (hired by McDonald’s to sell and promote Monopoly). Top officials within the marketing firm withheld the most expensive game pieces and circulated them within a group of 8 friends and family members (all of whom won) from 1995-2000. The group of monopolizers racked up a total of $24 million.
During that same time period, all the McDonald’s I ate in search of glory necessitated an expensive ProActiv prescription …
So McNopoly may not actually have 1:4 odds, they may be shortchanging us on the prizes and they may have done some shady things in the past. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have at least a shot at winning that $1 million prize. By shot, I mean a 1:273,825,959 shot. Yeah, it’s a a long shot, but don’t be discouraged. These odds are way better than a meteor hitting your house which is more like 1:182,138,880,000,000, but disappointingly worse than your chances of winning the California lottery jackpot which is 1:175,711,536 and pays exponentially better.
Over the past couple weeks I’ve visited the golden arches four times and have managed to stack 40 game pieces in total. However, not one has been an instant winner. So far, in terms of McStats my batting average is Seattle Mariner-like.
Despite the odds, people will always try. It’s almost as if McDonald’s reasoning behind this promotion is comparable to those lame posters they would hang in your 8th grade social studies class that say s*@t such as, “Aim for the stars. If you miss, you’ll hit the moon.” Only McDonald’s should change theirs to, “Aim for a Million Bucks. If you miss, you’ll hit 300 pounds.