Category Archives: Publisher’s Clearing House

My Mom and Publisher’s Cleaing House

Mom and her youngest great grandchild, Violet
Several years ago my mom told my sister and I (the two family members who live closest to her) that she was depressed. We did not realize that she had been mailing in her entries regularly to the Publisher’s Clearing House sweepstakes. Her entries informed her that this was the day she would win the million dollar prize. PCH knew her address, her florist’s address, her local TV station, and they had directions to her home. So she had spent the morning primping and dressing and then she basically waited on the sofa for Ed McMahan to ring her doorbell. He never showed up.

My mom is now 96 and she is still sending her entries off to Publisher’s Clearing House. I stopped “enabling” her several years ago and now that job has fallen to my younger sister. The incentives have gotten greater. Now you can win $5,000 or even $7000 a week for life and you can leave your winnings to your offspring. Of course, mom no longer expects to see Ed McMahan as she has outlived him.

Although my mom promised us long ago that she will no longer get dressed up to wait for the Prize Crew, although we explained that many people are greeted in their bathrobes, now she has decided that Publisher’s Clearing House will never give this enormous prize to anyone unless they are a customer, so she feels she must place an order with each entry she sends in. The materials assure her that it is not necessary to order to win, but she is certain that this is really not the case. The more she orders the faster the entries arrive. Now she receives one almost every day. Being, as she believes, so near the end of her life, a life to which she feels she contributed little of value (she has always been self-deprecating), she is almost certain that she is meant to win this contest so that she can go (to heaven) knowing that she is leaving everyone in the family with healthy finances and some spending money (and probably dooming us to perpetual internal familial strife, which she does not foresee).

We treat this all lightly in between lecturing mom that it is extremely unlikely that she will win. I learned my own Publisher’s Clearing House lesson long ago and I thought I was shut of them. But alas, they’re back and they are giving my mother hope and letting her down over and over again and for that I would like to see them sued until the business goes under, forever. It seems cruel and difficult to make your 96 year old mom stop doing anything that she likes to do.

I accept that this is obviously not the worst thing that can happen to a 96 year old woman, nor is she, even with her tiny income, being driven into the poor house, but the whole thing must somehow be a scam. I’m just not sure exactly how. Maybe it’s a psychological scam, a hook like gambling that sucks you in ever deeper. I know these Publisher’s Clearing House people were sued once; maybe it’s time they were sued again.
Of course, my mom’s legacy has nothing to do with whether or not she gets her Publisher’s Clearing House fortune and joins the millionaire’s club. Mom is the matriarch of a very large family. There are 47 of us in all with another on the way and 6 step grandchildren who are also in the clan. Mom is our calm center and she fights against anything that threatens any of her family members like a lioness. She is a tiny little person who used to be 5′ 2″ tall and who has lost several inches. She is a little bantamweight fighter when riled but not many things upset her. She is basically a cheerful cutie and we appreciate all of the days we get to spend with her. So whether she wins the grand prize from PCH or not does not matter one hoot to us. She is, indeed, the true grand prize. But Mom, really, enough.

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