Main Undesirable Prize Discussion

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03:24:59 PM Jul 18th 2013
edited by
Removed the following examples:

Move to Zonk:
  • This kind of thing has resulted in more than one lawsuit — radio stations offering "a hundred grand" (the candy bar named "100 Grand") and "a new Hummer" (a tiny, remote-controlled version) have faced legal challenges to their dickishness.
    • While "a new toy Yoda" (virtually indistinguishable from "Toyota" when spoken aloud) wasn't an example of radio-based dickishness, it was a great example of Hooters-based dickishness. The lawsuit hinged on the fact that despite "toy Yoda" and Toyota sounding similar, the restaurant manager had clearly described the prize as a car. It ended up being subverted by the lady who sued, as she eventually reached a settlement that apparently was more than enough to allow her to "pick out whatever type of Toyota she wants".
    • Parodied on an episode of Good Luck Charlie: Teddy enters a radio contest to win a new car after singing the National Anthem at a sporting event. Said car turned out to be a child's toy.
  • One Manitoba radio station offered a contest wherein the prize was "A lovely Winter getaway to Miami!" Not Miami, Florida, but a small rural town in southeastern Manitoba.
  • One episode of SpongeBob SquarePants had Mr. Krabs set Squidward and SpongeBob on a little contest to see who can offer the best customer service — and to ensure it is a contest and not just SpongeBob making nice to the customers while Squidward exercises his normal disdain, he offers a prize while enticingly brandishing a brochure for a tropical vacation. After Squidward goes to such lengths to beat SpongeBob that he actually gets put in prison, Mr. Krabs declares that prison or not he's most certainly the winner, and hands him the brochure. It was taking up space in his drawer and he needed to get rid of it.
  • There was an episode of Rocko's Modern Life that played with this. Rocko's kitchen gets destroyed (don't ask) and he goes on a game show to win a new one. He wins, but it turns out he only won a single spoon and has to keep winning every day for the rest of the Summer to get the whole kitchen...which in fairness is basically Dream House on a much smaller scale with a lot more effort required.
  • Conan does it as well - winners on "Basic Cable Name That Tune" are awarded such dubious prizes as a sack of barber hair, a cake that nobody ever picked up from the bakery (with the frosting reading "Hope your operation was a success!"), or a jar full of an unidentified white ooze with a handwritten label reading "NUZZ".

Note: The other Canadian Radio Example was Retained due to Hanlon's Razor.

Move to Consolation Prize:
  • The 1969 game Letters To Laugh-In scored viewer-submitted jokes read by the panelists. The highest-scoring joke each week won a trip to Hawaii, whereas lowest-scoring joke won a trip to "beautiful downtown Burbank". And since this was Fall 1969 as opposed to (for example) May 1975, there wasn't nearly as much to do there.
  • The Bozo Show. Not really a game show, although the "Grand Prize Game" (a skill-based throwing game, the objective being to throw a pingpong ball into six buckets, placed progressively further from the line) had an element fitting this trope ... a dinky consolation prize worth about $2 for anyone who failed to either — depending on the year — get the ball in the first bucket or complete the mission. An urban legend persists that one child was so upset with the consolation prize (tellings vary, the most common gift is a towel with Bozo's likeness on it) that he told Bozo to "Cram it, clown!"

Not any these Tropes at all:
  • Many video games let you trade casino winnings for items. These items are usually rare. Sometimes, however, items you can get can be gotten for cheaper in a store than you can buying coins to use on them. Pokémon lets you trade coins for an Abra; if you like Abra, fine, but you can catch one pretty easily too (though they're notorious for running away, so buying them can actually be easier) — the real prize in the Game Corner is Porygon.
  • Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance and Mortal Kombat: Deception include koffins with koins. Sometimes more koins, sometimes a different kolor. (They're not interchangeable.) Sometimes you get fewer koins of the same kolor. You get zonked by picking the same koffin twice; you get nothing.
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