Publishers Clearing House (PCH) has long been known as the company that gives away millions to lucky winners living all across the country. What began in 1953 as a multi-magazine subscription agency, PCH, which is headquartered in Long Island in New York, continues to remain relevant as a leading interactive media company offering a broad range of products, digital entertainment and other services.
On Sept. 15 in Fairborn in suburban Dayton, PCH’s Howie Guja did what he has done since 2015, when he joined the famous “Prize Patrol,” and surprised Fairborn resident and frequent contest entrant Margaret Allgood with a $10,000 check. The company has awarded more than half a billion dollars since its inception.
“I’ve done about 40 or 50 of these a year for the last six years,” Guja said. “It always has been and still is a surprise for folks who win. We just take a chance that they will be home when we arrive.”
Allgood was grocery shopping with the “Prize Patrol” arrived, but spoke briefly with Guja via her Ring doorbell and then rushed home to find him holding the large-sized check.
For Allgood, who has lived in the Fairborn area for four years, this was not the first time she has won something from PCH. When she spotted Guja walking up her driveway, she said she “had an idea” of what this was about.
“I’ve been entering PCH contests for years,” Allgood said. “I think I started in 2008 when they sent me things in the mail.”
After she got her first computer, Allgood stepped up her entries and has won amounts from $5 to the $10,000 she received in September.
“When I got the first $1,000 check, that was exciting, but not as much as the one I have today!” Allgood said.
PCH runs multiple contests with many opportunities to win, with the most popular being prizes “for life,” including $1,000 daily and $7,000 weekly. Allgood said she typically spends about two hours daily since her retirement entering contests.
“It was complicated at first because they have a bunch of offers to buy things,” Allgood said. “But once I figured out that all I had to do was scroll and not pick anything, it was easy.”
PCH’s sweepstakes and contests have always been free to enter, and winners are chosen at random, according to the company. It also warns that if someone contacts you claiming to be from PCH, and tells you that you’ve won but you need to send money in order to claim the prize, that is a scam.
Before home computers and the internet became household staples, contest information was sent in the mail and hopeful winners entered by putting stickers on the contests they chose and mailing them back.
Allgood’s family has teased her for years about her contest entries. She decided to come to Ohio and purchased a log cabin in Frazeysburg when her nephew Jake Seaborn planned to attend Clark State College . After a year, Allgood decided to build a new home in Fairborn and is currently living with Seaborn and his fiancé Cozette Guillory. Her plan is to return to Tennessee as soon as this house, which has been on the market for a few weeks, sells.
“The family never thought these games were real, but now they know they are!” Allgood said. “I’m going to keep doing it every day because I have time and I love it.”
Allgood retired after 46 years with Sun Trust Bank in Tennessee. She said her family members, including her many siblings, are excited for her return. And she plans to continue to frugally watch her spending and savings and will use the $10,000 to pay off bills. To celebrate that evening, Allgood, Seaborn and Guillory went to dinner at O’Charley’s restaurant.
“Things have changed a lot since I was a child and everything is more expensive,” Allgood said. “I remember when gas was 39 cents a gallon. We had to be very careful growing up and that’s the way I still live today.”
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