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Rural Infitters contest winner to spend all expenses paid vacation in Rome

Rural infitters contest winner (left) with his new prosthetic arm.

After launching the app anyway, despite various warnings and analyses that predicted imminent and irreversible financial disaster, Rural Infitters offered a promotional reward for their customers. According to app developers, if frequent shoppers downloaded the app, registered an account with two email addresses, forwarded the confirmation of their registration to at least five friends on their email list, reset their password twice, and completed their profile synced with the app’s social networking feature, they could have the chance to win an eight-day vacation to Rome and five-thousand dollars in prize money.

The contest ran for four months before finally closing its entry period Friday. The winner was announced on Monday to be Madison resident Ian Schitt, who received an eight-day vacation to Rome, with all expenses paid. I had a chance to sit down with Mr. Schitt and discuss the exciting results of the contest.

“Oh, no, I wouldn’t credit it to luck at all, it was just that I was the only one who entered the contest,” Schitt stated when I asked him about his incredible win. “The instructions were so complicated and annoying, I was literally the only one that was able to follow them to the end. The Rural Infitters team told me that’s why I won.”

I went on to chat with Mr. Schitt about his inspiration to enter the contest if it seemed like such a hassle.

“Every time I waited in line at Rural, I heard the cashiers asking people if they downloaded the Rural Infitters Rewards app and signed up for the program. Everyone always said they hadn’t, so I was messing around one day in the App Store and thought, why not?”

Mr. Schitt went into more detail about the actual process for signing up for the program, explaining to me that he went through four password changes, gave three of his email addresses, created an elaborate avatar on the app’s social networking platform, gave the last four digits of his checking account, his complete social security number, and finally removed his left arm to complete the registration process. When I asked why the actual process was so different than the one that was described to me by the app’s developers, he was unaware of whether the app’s developers were sure how the app worked.

What does this say about the success of incentive programs for customers? The market for successful applications for cell phones is more expansive right now than it’s ever been, encompassing many generations and performing essential functions to make our lives better as technology improves. If companies cannot keep customers loyal to their brands and missives, what’s the point of even trying?

Mr. Schitt departs for his trip to Rome next month. When I asked what he was most excited for during his vacation, he had only this to say.

“I might consider spending the prize money on prosthetics while I’m over there. I’ve heard they’re cheaper in Europe than they are over here. Cutting off my arm was not worth a trip to Italy and frankly, I’m not sure why I did it. After that? I dunno, maybe the Parthenon or something?”

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