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Why Winning Big Prizes On Game Shows Is Actually The Worst

Updated September 23, 2021 66.2k views10 items

Watching a contestant win on a game show lifts the hearts of viewers, and can change the winner's life. However, these "lucky" contestants' lives might not change in the glamorous ways you'd expect, as there are some troubling reasons why you don't want to win on a game show.

While savvy shoppers may long for the day they'll get to appear on The Price Is Right, the realities of winning are often a bitter pill to swallow. After the wonderful on-air memories have faded, winners are often saddled with secretly terrible game show prizes. The same winnings that once appeared bright, shiny, and essential can suddenly become a major burden once the contestants return to reality. 

Even if the prize ends up being exactly what was advertised, there are still financial obligations and logistical details to attend to, and the demands can often feel overwhelming. Once they've tasted victory, few contestants are left to wonder why it's the worst to win on game shows. Those who aren't yet aware should stick to watching from the comfort of their own homes; they'll probably walk away with more money in their pockets. 

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  • Prizes May Not Be Appropriate For The Winner, Or Even Fit In Their Home

    On top of the financial ramifications that come with game show prizes, there are also practical considerations to keep in mind. How many winners really even need a new car, not to mention a new dinette set? If you rent out a studio apartment, what are you going to do with a new eight-person hot tub? While the thrill of winning on-air is indisputable, a contestant's need for their prize is often more of a gray area.

  • Prizes Aren't As Expensive As They're Reported To Be

    Prize values are often inflated when the announcer is describing the item on-air. This is especially true when expensive vacations are up for grabs. The retail value of a prize is different than what the prize might currently sell for, and sometimes the contrast is disheartening. Shows opt to announce the highest possible retail price, as it makes everyone involved look like they're more generous than they actually are.

  • Winning Big Adversely Effects The Lives Of Many Contestants

    Winning big on a game show will change your life, make no mistake. It just might not change your life in a totally positive way. There is a phenomenon that is often seen in lottery winners, wherein people are handed huge sums of money in a brief period of time, only to suffer from unforeseen consequences as a result.

    Game show winners are not immune to this adversity. A quick, substantial windfall can leave a contestant heedless of the financial ramifications tied to their prize, and can inspire winners to burn cash until they wind up in a tougher situation than they were in prior to the start of the game show. Think about it, if you just won a new sports car, how long would it take you to consider the massive hike in insurance you were about to experience? 

  • Game Shows Are Riddled With Hidden Fees

    Game shows are known to work in a slew of hidden additional fees. For example, if you won a collection of Coach handbags on The Price Is Right, and wanted to send them to a loved one's house, TPIR will charge you extra for shipping to an address outside of the one you initially provided. These small, well-concealed charges can add up, making your big win seem far less exciting.