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Big Mac and FriesOver the past few weeks McDonald’s has managed to reel in hundreds, or maybe even thousands of customers who don’t usually patronize their restaurants, just by resurrecting one of their tried and true marketing efforts. I’m being purely speculative – and most likely conservative, about the numbers, but I happen to fall into this category of hopeful diners. I say hopeful because I was lured back in by the tantalizing promise that I had a “1 in 4” chance of being a winner. That’s better than the odds over at the Lotto office any day, and quite a bit tastier. And how can you resist the prospect of getting a prize with your meal that isn’t wrapped in plastic?

I have a little confession to make: I have visited my local Mickey D’s more in the past two weeks since they started this latest round of the Monopoly game than I have all year. I must also admit that when I was younger I probably spent a lot more time hanging out with Ronald than I should have, and in recent years we just seem to have drifted apart. It was me, not him.

My first visit back was at the urging of my daughter – very reminiscent of when she was a little girl – and it was a good day. I ordered one of the meals from the combo menu, and two of my four tickets were winners – talk about beating the odds! Of all the items on the menu, a fresh, hot order of fries has always been my favorite, so I really felt like a winner with two of them.

A few days later I was back, alone and of my own free will. I didn’t want my hot winning streak to go to waste. But this time I only ordered a sandwich. I don’t really care for fountain drinks and my jeans had gently suggested that I pass on the fries. I couldn’t wait to rip the tickets off the box, and I must say, I was more than a little disappointed that there were no instant winners this time. I consoled myself by recalculating my previous winning stats: two of four was now two of six – still better than the officially predicted odds.

Shortly after that visit I learned there was a million dollar Big Mac out there somewhere. It was time to change my strategy. With my winning streak still lukewarm, I figured my third trip to the golden arches would surely yield a golden ticket. It was time, time for a million dollar Big Mac. In fact, I was so confident about my chances of winning that I decided to splurge and have a large order of fresh, hot fries on the side.

When I arrived home with my booty, I decided to savor the winning moment and resisted the temptation to pull the little tickets off the box right away. Instead, I enjoyed dipping the fries into a mound of ketchup and contemplating what I would do with my newly acquired fortune. I always eat my fries first because I’m not a big fan of cold fries – ever. After I worked my way through the last crunchy morsel I started on the Big Mac. It had been a while since I had one, and the anticipation that had been building from the moment I decided to go on my little excursion made each bite special. Finally, my meal was finished and my prize was waiting. I gently peeled the tickets off the box, noting the slightest tremble in my anxious fingers. Slowly, I turned them over to reveal my prize…the fact that I’m not writing this post from some exotic island tells the rest of the story – my winning Monopoly streak has dropped to an average of 1 in 4. I haven’t won anything since my first visit, and this is why I don’t play the lottery or frequent casinos. Oh well, I did enjoy those fries.