In radio, we give things away on our shows on a nearly daily basis via contests and random call-ins. It doesn't matter if it's tickets to the most obscure musical act or a $5 gift card for cheese. If it's free, people will jam phone lines in a fraction of a second.
In fact, a few years ago, my then-cohost John Harris and I were joking on air about this very phenomenon, and we bet our producer that we could jam the phone lines if we gave away a cardboard paper towel roll center autographed by him. Needless to say, we very quickly and easily got to the designated winner (happened to be caller number 38, I think).
The same thing plays out every night at professional sporting events, where the T-shirt gun turns seemingly rational, well-off adults into jackals scrounging for a low-grade piece of fitted cloth for which you wouldn't pay three bucks at Target. (Yes, Rockets fans, I'm looking at you.)
Now, it's one thing to scrounge for a T-shirt for an actual good team. But fighting for the right to show off your support of the Jacksonville Jaguars? Well, that's a whole other category of scavenger.More »