By Nate Odenkirk | Staff Writer
Local contractor Bryce Tibbins was pleasantly surprised last week to find a game-winning ticket on the back of his large soda cup purchased at the Shell station on Ricewood Avenue. “I’m stoked,” said Tibbins, who won free gas for a year, and eternal inner peace. “Now I know what it must be like to be Jesus, winning free gas for a year!” When asked about the secondary prize, everlasting internal peace, Tibbins demurred. “Yeah, I mean, sure. If it means free gas for a year, I’ll take it too.”
The sweepstakes, a joint venture of Shell Gas Company and the neighborhood Buddhist temple, had been running for nearly six months. While the grand prize is no longer up for grabs, smaller rewards such as a free gas station hotdog or a monk’s robes are still available. “This was a highly successful campaign,” said the docent at the Buddhist sanctuary during his daily five hours of meditation and brand strategy. “We are grateful for the chance to associate Buddhism with a proud company like Shell gasoline.” The partnership has been a PR boon for the religion, with brand recognition skyrocketing 27 percent. They are looking to renew this popular contest.
“We are grateful for the chance to associate Buddhism with a proud company like Shell gasoline.”
Early last month, electrician Leeshawn Yotilda won the second-place prize, a ten percent gas rebate for a month, and a third eye of knowledge. “I definitely drove more last month,” he admitted with a smile on his face. “As for the third eye of knowledge, that hasn’t really come in handy for me—sure, I can approach a blissful state of presentness and synchronicity with nature, but I already have two eyes, I don’t really need a third.” Mr. Yotilda said the contest has most definitely changed his consumer habits. “I’m noticing that I’ve gotten rid of my possessions and rejected material comfort. I am also buying lots of Shell gasoline.”
Religious and altruistic organizations have begun partnering up with for-profit companies for similar partnerships in the recent past. The Sikh Gurdwara across town is working with AutoZone to provide free break checks for fasting congregants. Orthodox Jews are in talks with Lucky Charms cereal to add menorah and Leviticus-shaped marshmallows. And the Vatican is continuing its successful Pope For Life™ Sweepstakes with the California Lotto. “These are holy brands,” said the Pope, as he bestowed a papal blessing on a Slim Jim, to be hidden amongst its secular brethren for a “Snap Into Slim Jim, Get In To Heaven” promotion. “May they have delicious real jalapeno flavor for eons.”
A few days into enjoying his newfound enlightenment and free gas, Tibbins is apprehensive. “The free gas has been great, but I’ve just been floating everywhere now,” he says wistfully. “Plus, I am now aware of my actions and how they have perpetuated cycles of suffering and so, like, I don’t really want to indulge in earthly delicacies.” He then headed off to Jamba Juice, which is offering sainthood with the Roman Catholic Orthodoxy for every order of their Mango Madness smoothie. ♦