As a child I was always coming up with stupid get rich quick schemes. I would accompany my parents to the car boot sale and set up my own little table beside them, where I spent the morning trying to convince adults that my empty toilet roll tube with a face drawn on it was an antique, and was worth a hundred pounds. Or I would glue myself to 2p machines whenever we went to the seaside, convinced that I was going to turn a profit and come home with approximately £1,000,000,000 in 2ps.
My ultimate get rich quick scheme was conceived during a family gathering when I was about five. I have quite a lot of aunties and uncles, and on this particular day they were all visiting for a general get-together and a knees up. Seeing all these potential customers together in one room, I couldn’t help myself. The cogs in my mind began to whizz round, and I came up with the idea of holding my very own raffle.
It was beautifully simple. All I had to do was make a bunch of raffle tickets using my felt tips and whatever paper I could find (I may or may not have used my school exercise book), organise some prizes, then sit back and wait for the gullible fools to throw money at me. Ha! The perfect crime!
Only it wasn’t. I’d failed to grasp the fact that I would have to provide the prizes myself, since my raffle wasn’t A) sponsored by some big company, or B) for charity. All the proceeds would go straight to me. I scrabbled around looking for a load of tat that I wanted to get rid of anyway – these would do for the smaller prizes, but I still needed a star prize. What to do?
This is where my complete lack of intellect really came into its own. For reasons I can’t remember, I decided it would be a good idea to use my Barbie motor home as the star prize. This was a bad idea for two reasons. One – I loved that motor home more than life itself. Two – my grown up relatives probably didn’t want to win a used Barbie motor home.
This was my star prize:
This, but with loads of bits missing and probably covered in snot and wee.
It was my pride and joy. But, like with so many things, I didn’t think about the end result, just all the money I would definitely get from my relatives.
I think I charged 50p a ticket. My relatives, wanting to humour me, paid up. At the time I thought they paid because I was some sort of financial wizard, able to sell sand in the desert. The real reason I sold any tickets at all was because I was five.
Then it came to the big draw! Some of my relatives won piddly little things that I didn’t care about, so that was fine, but then it came to drawing for the star prize. At this point, I maybe should have had second thoughts about what I was doing – I was about to give away my Barbie motor home for 50p. But I didn’t see it that way. I have a feeling that I thought I would magically pull a ticket out that meant no one had won it. Obviously, that was not to be the case.
The inevitable disaster struck – my Uncle Geoff won the camper van. Oh my god, I nearly had a heart attack, especially when he started cheering and declaring himself to be over the moon at winning. This meant he really did want his prize, and now I’d have to give it to him! It never occurred to me that he might be lying about wanting his prize. It never occurred to me to wonder why a man in his 40s would want a Barbie motor home. All I knew was that we had a legally binding contract, and now he’d be taking away my favourite toy!
I reacted by doing what any five year old does best – I started crying. This was my face for the rest of the afternoon –
The world wasn’t big enough to contain my anguish. I was now to be without my beloved Barbie motor home, and my accursed Uncle Geoff would be sitting there playing with it and rubbing his hands together in glee. At least, according to my idiot mind.
Luckily, before things could get out of hand and I could throw myself out of the nearest window, my Uncle Geoff assured me that he was joking, and that I could keep my Barbie motor home. As an added bonus, I also got to keep all the money I made from the raffle! Mind you, my family all let this go on for a good hour before they let me off the hook, the bastards.
The moral of the story? It probably isn’t a good idea to raffle off your stuff. Unless you’re five, in which case it would seem to be a very good idea.