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My Journey: Handwriting 100 Letters for McDonald’s Monopoly Pieces

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Stack of EnvelopesIf you’re a reasonable, rational-thinking human being, you may be wondering why anyone would risk developing carpal tunnel by handwriting 100 letters for a fast-food chain’s sweepstakes… and then post the process on the Internet.

Well here’s why I’m doing it.

Per the rules of McDonald’s annual Monopoly Game — and to comply with their “no purchase necessary” claim — participants are allowed to request game pieces by mail, as long as they send a handwritten, self-addressed, stamped envelope (“SASE” for short) to McDonald’s between certain dates (this year it’s September 18th and October 22nd, 2012).

If you fill out the envelopes correctly, Mickie D’s will mail your SASE back with 2 game pieces in it. Each game piece includes 2 game stamps, so altogether you get 4 game stamps for a combined 90 cents postage per letter, plus the cost of envelopes. In all, I should be receiving 400 game stamps from Ronald McDonald for a combined total cost of about $117.

Compare that to the cheapest eligible menu item, hash browns, which cost 99 cents a piece in south Florida and only net 2 game stamps. To collect an equivalent number of stamps, I’d have to buy over $200 in hash browns. If you checked our McDonald’s Monopoly Calculator, you’d see that it takes quite a few hash browns to have a shot at winning any of the top prizes. I’m not expecting to win anything big, but I want to better my chances while also minimizing my investment.

So that’s my first reason for writing the letters: It’s cheaper than buying McDonald’s food, and it actually nets more pieces than most eligible food items. Win/win.

But I’m not just gonna risk getting blisters to score some game stamps and hope to win a Fiat or something. My interest is deeper than that.

After a quick Internet search, I wasn’t able to come across anyone who’d attempted to send in this many letters, so I’m curious to see if McDonald’s will live up to their word and mail me 400 game stamps. Also, I’d like to see if I actually make a return on my money. It’s pretty hard to make any money back going the traditional route of buying a bunch of food, even the cheapo hash browns. So I’m curious to see if I can score more than $117 in prizes with my 400 game stamps.

Ok, so I’ve explained why I’m writing and mailing them, but why would I chronicle it? Well, why not? It’s the Internet, and it seems like a fun thing to do. Plus, like I said, I haven’t found anyone who’s sent in 100 letters and maybe, just maybe, this post will stop some poor fool years from now from repeating my calamity. So I’m really helping you guys, kind of.

I will be continually adding to this post to update my progress. So without further adieu, here’s a look into the process of handwriting 100 letters to McDonald’s.

Step 1: Mapping out everything I need

First, I made sure I took note of everything I’d need:

  • 1. Request Envelopes: these will be the envelopes I send to McDonald’s requesting my pieces. It has to be handwritten and sent to their provided address.
  • 2. Return Envelopes (SASE): This is the envelope McDonald’s will send back to me with pieces inside. So I’ll have to put it in my request envelope. Luckily, McDonald’s doesn’t say anything about writing a letter requesting pieces or anything — you just have to send this return envelope, handwritten of course.
  • 3. Lots of stamps: I will need to buy 200 stamps total — 100 for the request envelopes and 100 for the return envelopes.

Step 2: Buying the supplies

Box of Envelopes

I went to my local supply store and grabbed a box of 250 envelopes ($19.99) and two rolls of 100 postage stamps ($89). I bought two rolls of stamps because I need 100 stamps for mailing the request envelopes and another 100 stamps to put on my return envelopes.

Step 3: Back to the store (Fail #1)

Envelope Failure

Being the genius that I am, I didn’t take into account that I’d need smaller return envelopes to put inside the request envelope, so I went back and bought a box of 100 6 inch envelopes ($6.59) that fit inside the larger request envelopes.

Step 4: What am I writing?

McD Rules for AMOE

I made sure to read the rules over a million times before I began my handwriting assault. Here is the provided McDonald’s mailing address:

    2012 MONOPOLY Game at McDonald’s Game Piece Request
    P.O. Box 49121
    Strongsville, OH 44149-0121

This is what I will be writing verbatim 100 times on my request envelopes along with my return address in the top left. On the SASE envelopes all I need is to self-address it in the center and put postage. 100 times. No biggie.

So total I will be handwriting 100 request envelopes with McDonald’s address and my return address, and 100 self-addressed return SASE envelopes. Total I’m looking at over 17,800 handwritten characters. Ugh.

Next up,

Step 5: Let the writing begin!

Tune back in to Bargaineering to see the next installment of my Journey to handwrite 100 letters for McDonald’s Monopoly Pieces.

[updated] Here’s Part 2!

{ 40 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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40 Responses to “My Journey: Handwriting 100 Letters for McDonald’s Monopoly Pieces”

  1. Vanessa says:

    I’m curious to see if you’ll win. Obviously, McDonald’s has an incentive to attach winning game pieces (at least for the big ticket items) to packages

  2. Adam says:

    Your math seems wrong- the hash browns should get you 400 pieces for 200 dollars right?

    Personally I’d spend 200 and at least get some food out of the deal.

    • Brandon says:

      Good catch. Fixed :)

    • Ben says:

      Good point.
      The food could be purchased and then donated to a local charity or two that minister to the poor and/or homeless. Then the tax deduction could help offset the cost.

      • Lisa says:

        Donating canned and packaged foods is much easier than “fresh” prepared foods because of the health risks. It’s the reason why many restaurants often toss uneaten food (like at buffetts and the like) rather than donate it.

      • Ray says:

        or you could try eating it all for maximum savings.

  3. mannymacho says:

    Argh, the cliffhanger! Didn’t see it coming!

  4. michael says:

    Dude, you’re insane. But in a good way. Looking forward to the results. :-)

  5. Tim Hawkins says:

    Could you also account for your time on this project? It would be interesting to include it in your “costs” to acquire game pieces. In the name of science of course. We’re looking for the ROI right?

    • Brandon says:

      Ah, forgot to mention this.

      I will make a “time-investment” guesstimate in my final update, in the name of SCIENCE, of course.

  6. Anon Y Mous says:

    You’re so funny! You could have avoided a second trip to the office supply store (wasted gas) by FOLDING the #10 env. and placed it inside the envelope to McDonald’s. I do this ALL the time and I’ve won countless prizes: two airline trips, firearms, tote bags, t-shirts, sweatshirts, etc.

    Inner envelope will look like this :

    ___
    /
    /___

    Also: If you have children, tell them to hand-print the McDonald’s addresses — make it a family event.

  7. Anon Y Mous says:

    FOLLOW UP TO EARLIER:

    The inner envelope will look like a Z when folded..

  8. Jim M says:

    I’d never do this myself – but will be curious to see how it plays out for you.

  9. I probably wouldn’t do this but it does sound interesting. Hopefully the follow up post comes soon and has the results!

  10. JoeTaxpayer says:

    Many years ago (I graduated College in ’84 and I was still in school) there was a Rolling Stones concert where instead of standing on line, you sent a stamped envelope for a chance to receive a ticket reservation. The reservation could then be paid for and picked up live. I sent 100 envelopes, and got back reservations for 2 pair of tickets. Saw them with one pair, and sold the other tix for $400. This was when tickets were still $50 or so.

    Good luck to you. It’s a fun project.

  11. Jerry says:

    I think McDonald’s has an out with their “while supplies last” clause.

  12. Darren says:

    Wow, the blogging thing must not be panning out so well, huh Jim? Resorting to spending hours handwriting on envelopes for the small chance to win something? I do hope it works out for you, but I can’t help thinking there’s something better you could be doing with your time. :)

  13. freeby50 says:

    Statistically you should make your money back in the retail value of free food winnings.
    You’ll probably win 44 orders of medium fries, 8 quarter pounders, 8 Frappes, 8 McFlurrys and 12 breakfast sandwiches. That might cost $150 or so, though I wouldn’t value it as much as I’m not really wanting 44 orders of medium fries etc.
    You might also win 2-3 Redbox codes or some Snapfish prints too.

  14. This is certainly interesting but sounds like such a huge time commitment. Do you enjoy playing the lottery also?

  15. I would have liked to see you hire this work out on O-Desk to someone. Maybe for like 1 dollar an hour or something. If they honor there promise and send you 400 Pieces, I might just have to try this next year. I can’t wait to find out.

  16. Paula says:

    There’s always a catch in the fine print. Good luck. I hope you win big!

  17. VERSE says:

    DID U GET LUCKY YET? IF NOT I HAVE PIECES LETS SEE WHAT WE CAN PUT TOGETHER!! AND WIN!!

  18. A J Johnson says:

    I didn’t know you could get game pieces on e-bay.I thought the rules said no transfer of game pieces.

  19. Victoria says:

    Brandon, do you have a separate page with the outcome of your game pieces? Curious to see what they are.

    • Brandon says:

      Victoria,

      I got 98 of the 100 letters back on Monday (10/15). Still going through them all (392 pieces to peel!) but I’ll be making a Part 3 with all the deets soon enough :)

  20. Crys says:

    I go everyday to MCD’s and I have a tons of peices with no win only free food… I enter the code online and also have no win… only free coke points, two times.. thats all.. the changes of winning I think is more trading peices with someone else out of your state.

  21. A Sweeper says:

    First, they WILL live up to it. Very rarely do professional sweeps not follow through on AMOEs (alternate means of entry, to the pros).

    This was not the sweep to spend the time and money. Your chances, according to the odds, of anything consequential are nearly nil. You’ll get a couple dozen free food items, as well as some redbox rentals, but the chances of getting the big stuff are impossibly slim. Doing so many AMOEs raises your chances to almost impossibly slim. :)

    That said, there are sweeps well worth mailing in. There’s one running right now with over 10k GC’s worth several hundred dollars. There was one last year where those same 100 envelopes you sent would have put you at a 2:3 chance of winning an all inclusive trip to Mexico. Last year, I sent off 650 envelopes with hand written pieces of paper inside for a sweep worth $50,000 that I won, done over the course of two weeks.

    Mailing in can be smart, but not for this sweep. Still though, I would love for you to prove me wrong and come back in part three with a picture of your sweet new Fiat 500. :)

  22. Denise says:

    You should of just bought a box of 500 #10 envelopes would of been cheaper than what you paid for your box of 250 security envelopes.jmo

  23. MONIQUE says:

    Good luck! They do this every year on slickdeals.net. They started off using printers and labels but the rules got more restrictive. Then a few people opened up PO BOXES in VT since I think that’s the state where they can’t require the SASE. But I don’t know the status from this year. So, it’s definitely been done before, and on a mass basis, but it will be fun to watch your progress and returns.

  24. Felix says:

    Dude, water is free if you just go in and ask for a free cup of water you get free game tokens. duh.

  25. Dixie says:

    Is it possible that the rarest pieces depend on which region they are released in? And is it also possible that the reason some pieces were not sent to you is because those are among the rarest that have been distributed I’m your postal region? So, for instance, if park place is most common in eastern US, maybe it is less common in southern? Or the ones that everyone in your region is looking for are more common in another region? Just curious?


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