Local mammy Bridie Kieransis was celebrating this week after winning another washing machine in an online competition. It is the second washing machine she has won this year – and it still only August.
“I’ll have to buy more clothes at this rate,” smugged Bridie, who has had husband Sonny mithered to build an extension to fit all her winnings.
Bridie cut her teeth in the competitions game early on by licking Greenshield stamps for her mam’s coupon booklet, moving on to minstrel tokens when they started giving away cars with the tea. “It was the competitive element of the tiebreaker that hooked me. I musta drinkin most of the Chineses tea,” she recalled.
However, winning a car with the tea tokens was the Champions League of tiebreak competitions and despite coming close on a few occasions, she never drove away in a brand new Ford Fiesta. Sadly, all that caffeine had an adverse effect on Bridie’s nerves – it was time to admit she was addicted to the rush of the tiebreak.
“I could never just buy the tea for the token. I had to drink it too.” Waste was a cardinal sin in Bridie’s world. “It was the way I was brought up,” she explained. Her (now grown up) children attested that she was known to pop half eaten sandwiches and unfinished lunches in an envelope and scrawl ‘Ethiopia’ on it.
Her doctor recommended weening herself off her addiction by focussing on supermarket stamps for weekend breaks. The relaxation would do her good he said. “The stamps were much easier. You just had to spend a certain amount each week and you’d get discounted weekend and midweek breaks.
“I got so good at collecting the supermarket stamps that I was living in hotels from Wednesday to Sunday. Coming home was actually like a holiday.”
But there was still a tiebreaker sized hole in her life. She was a prime candidate for relapse.
She started buying all sorts of women’s magazines to satisfy her lust for tiebreak competitions – the prizes were immaterial. For two years she could only speak in tiebreak, a condition that ruined speeches at her daughter’s wedding and her mam’s funeral.
Shortly after, her family held an intervention. Though not completely successful, a compromise was reached; she would only enter a competition if the prize was something she needed. This worked well for a while but then she won a computer with the Internet on it. All bets were off. Since then, not a day goes by without her degrading herself by liking and sharing products on Facebuke in the hope of winning stuff.
“I made up a phrase that I think sums my philosophy up – ‘If you’re not in you can’t win’. That was me,” says Bridie. “Who cares if I look desperate and do companies advertising for them? I won two fridges last year, one of them is an American one. I keep me meat in one and me dairy in t’other. None of my neighbours can say that.”