How promotional sweepstakes work

Recently on WalletPop, I discussed how the fine print in marketing contests can be disturbingly tricky for a customer who thinks that they've won a prize with no strings attached. But offering giveaways can also be problematic for the business owner as well. In fact, it can happen to any entrepreneur. It happened, for instance, to Goober Pyle in Mayberry, North Carolina.

On April 10, 1967, an episode of The Andy Griffith Show aired, entitled "Goober's Contest." Goober, who was Gomer Pyle's cousin, decides that he needs more business at his service station (I guess at this point, he had bought it from the previous owner, Wally; I'm a fan of the show, but I don't have every episode memorized in the order it appeared... yet). Anyway, Goober comes up with an idea for a contest, in which he gives out prizes of money for $10 or less. Unfortunately, an error at the printer that Goober hired caused one of the coupons to be worth $200. Floyd, the barber, got that ticket and wanted Goober to pony up and hijinks ensue.

If only Goober had had promotional insurance. He could have avoided a mess that almost cost him more than $200. It almost cost him a dear friendship.