While attending the InnoTech trade show in Austin, Texas I was amazed at how many companies were luring people in with the give-away of an i-pod, i-phone, or other cool gizmo. I must have dropped my card into a dozen such fish bowls.
Now that I am back at my office, I am not going to hold my breath that I will win anything. You see, the dirty little secret for most of these exhibitors is that they have no plan of conducting a random drawing, but instead they will select the card of the prospect they most hungrily want the chance to see again. After all, who wouldn't take the appointment to get a free i-phone?
I think most attendees think that all drawings will occur with a total commitment to fairness for all who dropped a card. WRONG.
One company I talked to all but admitted they will not be doing a random drawing. They have bought into the "everyone does it this way" theory, and thus the ethical dilemma seems insignificant. Even thought their sign clearly stated "Drop your card for a chance to win an i-pod". Yes, a "chance".....similar to that opportunity the proverbial snowball has in hell.
Maybe the sign should read "Drop your card in the fishbowl so that we can capture your contact information and add you to our mailing list. Additionally, if we think you are a the best prospect to come to our booth, we will call you in a few days and entice you to meet with us so we can give you a $200 piece of electronics with the real intent of selling you stuff. The rest of you have no chance of winning, but you will get our useless newsletter forever and ever". Hey, at least it is honest!
Have A Great Day.