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When I Won a "Major Award" from Petco

Updated on June 11, 2014

Playful Kitty

Skeeter the cat attacks packing paper.
Skeeter the cat attacks packing paper. | Source

A "Major Award"

In the movie, A Christmas Story, when Ralphie's old man won a major award his joy lit up the street - figuratively and literally (it was a gaudy leg lamp.) But, that joy was nothing compared to my surprise and delight (and relief) when I received an email stating that I had won the Grand Prize in the Petco-Good Housekeeping "Green Your Pet" contest.

A Major Award

A Most Fortuitous Email

I believe that for most of us, the verses from the Book of Ecclesiastes resonate as authentic and genuine. There is a time for happiness and time for sadness; a time for wealth and a time when money will be so tight that your stomach is churning and knotting up like the most tangled kite string in the world. I accept this.

It was during a time of unemployment and stomach churnment that I received this email:

“Dear Maren,

Thank you for your submission to the Good Housekeeping ‘Green Your Pet’ Sweepstakes.
I am writing to notify you that you have been chosen as the Grand Prize winner of the sweepstakes…
…If you choose to accept this prize, you will then have 10 days review the rules, notarize the affidavit and get it back to me as soon as possible by fax to … or by mail to …”

THE LAST LECTURE Publisher: Hyperion Books
THE LAST LECTURE Publisher: Hyperion Books

Story from a man who stayed grateful and positive through a huge unpleasant challenge.


Fairy Tale?

This is the stuff of daydreams and fairy tales. The email was neither from Good Housekeeping nor Petco (the co-sponsor of the contest.) Was it Spam? I had entered this online random drawing after seeing a handmade sign about it on the glass doors of our local Petco store. Furthermore, I had not told ANYONE. No one. Not even my housemate and co-parent of three cats. So, I researched online for the owner of Good Housekeeping. Cha-CHING! The email came from a reasonably connected business entity.


The Nuts and Bolts of Accepting

I easily found the rules online (I so love the Internet!)  Next, many emails flew back and forth between a very kind and responsive marketing person and myself.  First, I mailed to say “Yes! YES!  I will accept the prize!  Do not go to number 2 on your list!”  Then, as I studied the rules and the release to be executed, I had a millisecond of concern.  The sponsors required that I agree to their use of my name, image, and biography AND agree to pay all expenses, taxes, etc. in connection with accepting.  Would they require me to travel to collect the prize?  A little distance by car is fine; something requiring flying halfway round the world would not be fine.  So, I emailed Ms. Nice Marketer and she told me the prize would be mailed as Petco gift cards.  That sounded strange after all the business about my photo and bio, but it was a huge relief.

The next step was going to a notary.  I paid for that service and snail-mailed the form, emailing to let them know when to expect it.  Then, I went online to the Petco site to make a wish list, even though I was not totally confident this would all bear fruit.

Feline Feeding Time

Our family of three cats eating in the kitchen.
Our family of three cats eating in the kitchen. | Source

Something This Good Must Be Shared - Pay It Forward

That’s the way I feel about it. I mean, I would have been eternally grateful for an amount one-quarter of what our family is getting. We recently had an adorable abandoned kitten join our household. Even though that adoption was not through the assistance of a shelter, my heart is very attuned to abandoned animals, so I thought one of our local animal shelters should share in the largess. In a very unscientific manner, I allowed my spirit core to guide me on choosing one.


I waited.  No mailed prize arrived.  After a few weeks, I emailed Ms. Nice and inquired as gently and as gratefully as possible what the timeline might be for expecting the award. She gave me more information.  At this point, I had told only my housemate, my parents and one friend.  The “if it’s too good to be true, then it probably isn’t” common wisdom chanted in a nya-nya fashion my brain.  I was not going to tell anyone else in case it was some sort of scam, joke, or snafu.

Federal Express

THE envelope finally arrived and my housemate signed for it. Sure enough – it is “for real.” We will use the great bulk of it to buy food and cat litter for our three busy felines. However, I indulged in two extra-strong metal litter scoopers to replace our flimsy plastic one (ah, the simple delights.) Our local Petco store folks assured me that it will be very easy to transfer part of my prize into a gift card for the animal shelter. The Petco managers and employees have been very wonderful.

Gift from the BIG Man Upstairs

Back when I received the first email, I leaped around doing my “Happy Dance” and shared the good news with my housemate.  He queried, “Is this providential?”  My response: “I think SO!” Since then, I have also scored a part-time job.  I guess we are on the upswing side of the Ecclesiastes wealth pendulum.  I am wallowing in gratitude.

Photos and text copyright 2011 Maren E. Morgan


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    • Maren Morgan M-T profile image

      Maren Elizabeth Morgan 6 years ago from Pennsylvania

      I also love A Christmas Story. Could ya tell? :D

    • profile image

      vinsanity 6 years ago

      Nice hub you have here. Not that it was the focus of your hub, but I love A Christmas Story.

    • Maren Morgan M-T profile image

      Maren Elizabeth Morgan 6 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Ha ha, Miss Mellie.

    • Miss Mellie profile image

      M.S. Ross 6 years ago

      Oh, so that's YOUR picture I've been seeing on all those Petco billboards all over town, announcing the Major Prize Winner Who's Also a HubPages Writer! ;->

      Always nice to receive surprise delights, whether big or small. Congratulations on your prize, and how very thoughtful of you to share some of it with the local shelter.