Let's Make a Deal

Every now and then, businesses blunder by running less-than-well-thought-out promotions, providing canny consumers with the opportunity to take advantage of these windfalls for very little (if any) outlay. Alternatively, sometimes the fabulous giveaway is naught but a widespread rumor.

These are tales of promotions gone wrong and the companies who either paid up or found some wiggle room as well as stories about legendary promotions and freebies that never were.

Red bullet A jocular Pepsi "offer" obligated them to provide a $33.8 million Harrier jet to a customer for $700,000.

Green bullet A clever consumer earned a lifetime of free air travel by cashing in on a Healthy Choice pudding promotion.

Red bullet A baby born in-flight is given free air travel for the rest of his life.*

Green bullet A store made good on its offer to sell stereos for "299 bananas" when customers proffered the real thing as payment.

Red bullet Woman wins $1,000 in a Carnation Milk slogan contest by submitting a bawdy bit of verse.

Green bullet Woman sues radio station when the Hummer she won in their contest turned out to be a toy rather than a full-sized vehicle.

Red bullet Porsche dealer offers "buy one, get one free" promotion.

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