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Update: The Cheap Sally Blogger Contest

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This post should have come earlier, and I apologize that I’m writing my update on how the Cheap Sally blogger contest turned out so darn late. To tell you the truth, I couldn’t write about the contest right after it ended because I was LIVID. I’m a pretty even-keeled individual and don’t spend much time being angry, but this contest brought out a lot of rage and angst.

Before I tell you why though, I want to – quite belatedly – thank each and every one of you that took the time to vote for me so I could even compete in the final stage of the contest. It meant the world to me that you would take the time to vote! I know many of you voted many times so that I had the chance to be the winning blogger, and I cannot say thank you enough. You are all wonderful.

Now, to the bad.  Pull up a chair. This is going to take awhile.

If you recall, Cheap Sally was looking for one person to win a one-year blogging gig that would pay $100k. From day 1 of the contest something felt off. The rules and wording of the contest were confusing and where I had thought it was a deal finding contest, that was definitely not the case. Each day everyone participating would be emailed an item. As it turned out, our goal was not to necessarily find the lowest priced item, but instead, we had to find the coupon that would give us the highest percentage discount. As someone who spends the majority of her day looking for discounts that least to LOW PRICED ITEMS, the contest was completely and totally illogical. Theoretically, the “winning” item on any given day could cost hundreds of dollars more than another item found but the most important factor would be the coupon discount. Nobody shops like this.

BUT … the coupon had to be listed on the Cheap Sally website. If you found a coupon that wan’t on the website you could try to submit it in time, but you risked something like this happening to you:

Sometimes they just wouldn’t add the coupons you’d find, or accept them, or whatever. So, if your coupon didn’t get accepted within the 24 hour time frame you were screwed. There were some nights that I couldn’t get to the contest until late at night and I’d submit my pick at 11:30 p.m. … I was lucky on those days that I didn’t have to submit coupons because there is no way they would have accepted it that quickly. Maybe I’m being harsh here, but I think $100,000 is a lot of money. Every 24 hours we had a new product to work with. In a 24-hour contest, someone should have been accepting those coupons at all hours of the day or night. Even on weekends. Period.

Then there were issues with websites malfunctioning, so the price that one person saw at one point in the day isn’t the price that someone else would necessarily see. For instance, on one day I submitted a camera for $233. Earlier in the day the camera was listed for $283 on the SAME website. We both used the same coupon and paid the same price, but because the contest is about BIGGEST COUPON SAVINGS the people who submitted the camera when it showed the higher starting price won. Someone else participating in the contest contacted the company and found out the $283 was an error, but Cheap Sally refused to amend the point totals for the day.

For awhile Cheap Sally was keeping a blog detailing the “winning” product of the day and why those products won. They quickly STOPPED keeping that blog however when numerous errors were found. For instance, one of the first items we had to find was a very specific digital waterproof camera (this is a different day from the one above). There are hundreds of cameras on the market, so it took hours to sort through all the cameras to find the ones with the correct specifications and then start digging for coupons that applied to those cameras. The next day, the “winning” camera was a camera that didn’t fit the specifications they had given us. As you can imagine, this caused a bit of an uproar and they had to reevaluate the results for the day. They also eventually stopped writing this blog and providing us with any details because people were finding constant mistakes.

One of the arbitrary and ever-changing rules of the contest was that when we found an item to submit for the contest, there had to be at least TWO of said item in stock. (I don’t know why this was ever a rule since we didn’t actually have to buy anything.) On one particular day we had to find a specific MacBook Pro. Do you know how hard it is to find a coupon for Mac products? Well, one store was offering 10% off everything they sold, which just so happened to include the ONE MacBook Pro they had in stock… at least when I and many other people found the deal there was only one in stock.

You know what happened, right? Someone found this deal really early in the day when there were actually TWO of the computers in stock. They put one of the computers in their virtual shopping cart to see if the deal would work, and when it did they submitted their deal to the contest and went on their way. No harm, no foul. Except for the fact that often times when you put things in your virtual shopping cart, it will deplete an item from the store’s inventory unless you empty your shopping cart. Most people don’t empty their shopping carts – as this person didn’t – so the store showed only ONE MacBook Pro as being in stock for the rest of the day. Therefore, only one person was able to take advantage of this offer thanks to the arbitrary rule that TWO needed to be in stock. The next day the powers that be reversed this stupid stock rule, however it was too little, too late.

I’m not going to contact Cheap Sally for their side of how the contest went, but I will share with you what they emailed all of the competitors on the last day of the contest:

There has been a fair amount of buzz about whether we would be making changes to the results based on some confusion. As our official rules state, Cheap Sally has final and binding determination over discrepancies that arise in how the contest is to be scored and adjudicated.  By participating, each of you have agreed to respect and abide by our decisions when you first entered the contest, and the decisions we have made to date will remain in place.

Meaning: No. We are not going to listen to reason or acknowledge that we made erroneous decisions. Period.

My thought: We worked with Sally and her son Tyler the majority of the time. There should have been a third party verifying all of the results.

I’m getting upset again as I list out why I was so frustrated and angry with this contest. At times it felt like it was rigged, and at times it made no sense at all. The ONLY thing that made the contest tolerable was that the majority of other people competing felt the same way I did, and on the whole they were a great bunch of people.

There was a sense of community among all of us participating as we encouraged one another and vented our frustrations on the Cheap Sally Facebook Wall. (All of that has since been erased. The screen caps I’ve shared are ones I took while the contest was ongoing.)

Every single day I wanted to quit, but I held out until the end because of all of you. I was so grateful to be apart of it thanks to all of you who voted. Obviously I didn’t win, but that I am 100% fine with that because by the end of the contest I wasn’t sure $100,000 was enough to work with an organization such as this.

One final thing that made me laugh. At the end of the contest they told us they had a really great opportunity they couldn’t wait to tell us about. We got on a conference call and they told us they wanted us to join a freaking blog network and they would make us all thousands of dollars. I got off the phone as quickly as possible and never heard from them again when I refused to sign their non-disclosure agreement. Fat chance I will EVER work with this company again.

This Post Has 5 Comments
  1. Lisa, I’m so sorry for your experience with this so-called contest. I, along with many, many others voted for you numerous times. It really sounds like they got in over their heads and didn’t think things through. I can only imagaine how hard you all were trying to follow rules that were shifting and meeting unrealistic illogical expectations. Live and learn right? That’s pretty much all you can do at this point. And, now you know that if you are to ever run a contest offering a $100k job (smile), you’ll do it much better!

  2. Ugh! SO sorry to hear! I am sure you put a lot of time, energy and effort into this and it is unfortunate that it wasn’t a fair fight. Just revel in the fact that you have a lot of followers and help us get awesome deals every day! Thanks again!

  3. I couldn’t have said this any better! I too felt honored that I had won for the state that I was in and could compete but felt exactly the same way! Hit the nail on the head with this post!

    1. I’m sorry you went through this fiasco, too, but happy to hear I’m not alone in feeling this way. Every time I think about the contest I get upset all over again. I’m so happy it’s over. 🙂

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