As part of their marketing initiative for the Energizer Night Trail Singapore race, battery technology company Energizer, recently came up with a rather interesting competition.
Called “Shop in the Dark”, it is a contest whereby participants are pitted against each other to “spend” a given amount of money in the dark at NTUC Fairprice or Giant supermarkets. The person who “spends” closest to the given amount is declared as the winner.
I was selected to have this chance to shop in the dark. Read on, to share my interesting “dark” experience.
Sizing up my competitors
When I first arrived at the Marine Parade Fairprice supermarket where the contest was being held that morning, there was nobody there yet. But then again, it was early. The contest didn’t start till 7am, which was still about 10 to 15 minutes away.
For a moment, I had wondered whether I would be the only person taking part.
Soon enough, my competitors arrived. There were six of us in the competition. Most of the other people were women in their 30s and 40s, but there was a young girl too, probably in her late teens. So at least I wasn’t the youngest person taking part in this.
15 Minutes To Shop
Before we could start grabbing from the aisles of the supermarket, there was a short briefing. We had exactly 15 minutes to spend $399 (only revealed to us at the very last minute) and the person who come closest to spending this amount would walk away with a shopping spree of $888 at Fairprice. But there was a catch. You could not overspend – even by five cents. If you did, you would be disqualified.
There were consolation prizes available to the rest, so none of us would be walking away empty-handed, though.
We were given Energizer headlamps so that we would be able to see where we were going – and not fall down and end up with a sprained ankle.
Lights out and… shop!
The intercom at the supermarket signalled the start of the challenge.
“Five… four… three… two… one!”
And then we were off – with our trolleys. (The instructions were no running, but we could do fast walking).
Immediately, I shot down the supermarket aisle, in search of items to put into my trolley. My mind was frantically mentally adding up the prices after each product that I took, as no calculators were allowed.
I had done my “homework” the previous day and so roughly knew where the various products were placed around the supermarket.
Consequently, I did not have too much trouble with locating the items that I was looking for.
Into the trolley went a wide assortment of items including wine, chocolates, stuffed toys, milk powder and coffee. I had tried to go for the more expensive products, so that I would not have to get too many items. (Each person had to get a minimum of 10 products though, including Energizer batteries and a Shick razor).
Once I had the items that I wanted, I began hunting for some other products to place into the trolley to make up the $399.
From time to time, I bumped into my fellow competitors and we quickly acknowledged each other before moving on. They were friendly, despite the contest.
It was good that the Energizer headlamp was bright and it really helped me to navigate my way around the dark supermarket aisles.
The intercom continuously reminded me how much longer I could continue shopping. Ten minutes… five minutes… the time was ticking on fast. I was sweating.
Waited with Bated Breath
When there was one more minute left to go, I quickly wheeled my trolley downstairs towards the checkout counter to face my fate.
I waited with bated breath and watched the cashier pricing my items as each one was slowly tallied up. I kept wondering whether I had under-selected my number of products or overshot the price limit?
In the end, I was relieved that I had not overshot or been disqualified, but at the same time, when my results were compared to my competitors, it turned out that another participant had gotten closer to the $399 than I had.
After a few of the other competitors had been eliminated, I realised that I had been the second closest.
So in the end, I didn’t win the grand prize of a major shopping spree of $888 at Fairprice. But I was still rewarded with a free shopping spree of $188.
I guess it wasn’t a bad result for my 15 minutes of “shopping.”
Reminds me of a TV Game Show
It was a really interesting experience and made me feel as though I was taking part in a reality show competition, a little bit like the popular TV game show, The Price is Right.
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