I could be the winner of $5000 a week for life from Publisher’s Clearing House (PCH)! Yes, I got sucked into this promotion again. Electronically, this time.

I used to diligently go through the stack of offers to make me rich from PCH I received in the mail. Back in the day, you had to weed through all the advertisements for stuff they wanted you to buy in order to find the two or three little peel-off stickers to affix to your entry card to make it valid. It took a lot of time to identify these stickers which were cleverly hidden in the middle of pages of magazine subscriptions stickers. It was sort of like a sadistic game of “Find Waldo.” But I did it. I dutifully sent my entry forms in before the deadline. And PCH dutifully sent me more mail to search for the stickers, but no verification that I had won anything.

Gradually, after wasting a lot of time, and money on postage, I lost interest. But recently, the offer to make me rich came in an email. Like a schmuck, I clicked on it. This would be a lot easier electronically, right? Uh, no.

After typing in my entry code, I was re-routed to several pages of advertisements for items to “add to my cart.” I had to wade to the bottom of each page to click “continue,” at which point I was informed my cart was empty. Yes, I already knew that. The website specifically guaranteed no purchase was necessary. But I’m still skeptical—kind of like back in the mail-in days when you had to return either an envelope marked you ordered something or one marked you didn’t. Even though PCH promised that no purchase was necessary in order to enter, I was still convinced the envelopes marked nothing ordered were simply discarded.

So, after going through several more pages of things I didn’t want, I was finally routed to another page to spin a wheel for extra money. Surprise, I spun the highest amount! Then I was sent to several more confusing sites where I couldn’t continue unless I signed up for things I didn’t want to sign up for and chances to play Las Vegas-style games that I didn’t want to play. At one point I ended up in Ancestry DNA. Finally, my entry was being “processed” and I was encouraged to click on something else confusing while I waited. So, I did. I clicked on “Word” and wrote a blog. I’m still waiting to be processed. Frankly, I think the buffering simply goes on forever if you don’t buy something.

I could be the next winner of $5000 for life from PCH. On the other hand, I could not be the winner of $5000 a week for life from PCH. Since my entry was never processed, methinks the latter.