August 2008
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Day 19: Lose’dicator

The latest promotion at the Palms, tucked in among the Monday, Wednesday and Friday scratchcard promotion, and just managing to stay out of the way of Tuesday’s shot at free gas is yet another swipe-and-win day on Thursdays in August.

You can still win various standard pieces of free tat, like this amazing multi-functional notebook contraption. It features a pen, a ruler, a magnifying glass and both 2008 and 2009 calendars.

But this time there’s also the chance to win a Coca Cola "Win’dicator". It’s a kind of fancy raffle ticket, and it looks like this:

I swiped. I won. Here’s what it I was meant to do next:

"The Win’dicator is a random prize generating system. Not all Win’dicator holders will be winners.

To activate your Win’dicator, please pull the tab out of the side of the device. At that point, it is activated.

In order to win, your Win’dicator must start blinking. This may occur between 15-60 minutes after it has been activated. Once blinking, you will then have a short allotted period of time to return the blinking Win’dicator to the promotional area. Your Win’dicator MUST STILL BE BLINKING when you bring it to the promotional area, or your prize is no longer valid."

As I’d seen that the prizes on offer ranged from a large bottle of Coke to a six-pack of smaller bottles of Coke, I pretty much expected every one of them to be a winner, with just a very simple piece of circuitry to make the lights go mental after a fixed delay.

However the instructions suggested something much more high-tech was going on:

"We do suggest that you stay in the casino after receiving the Win’dicator, as the range isn’t extremely far, and the time to return it is relatively short. So stick around, have some fun, and wait for your winnings."

Well duh, obviously it’s a ploy to get you to stay in the casino rather than just turning up to swipe your card and collect a prize. I got that already.

But do they seriously want me to believe that this is some kind of one-use wireless pager device which must be worth much more than the actual prize they are giving away?

After mine failed to start blinking (we did stick around, not because of this but because Claire swiped and won a 4x points multiplier) it was obviously going to get dismantled.

Now I’m not an electronic engineer and I might not be fully comprehending how clever this shit really is, but I’m pretty sure this one is a non-working dummy. Hence the non-winning.

There appears to be three LEDs and a small battery on a circuit board…

But on closer inspection, those silver blobs that look a bit like chips are just silver paint, and the LEDs appear to be just red plastic domes.

On the the reverse you can see that they are not actually wired to anything, and they popped right out of the board with almost no force at all.

However, the battery does seem to be real. I guess this is so that the tab you have to remove to "activate" the device (making the battery connection) works in exactly the same way whether or not you have a winner.

It all seems like a very elaborate way to get stiffed on a bottle of Coke to me.

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