Years ago, my best friend Lisa said something I never forgot: “I wanna be on The Price is Right!”
So for her birthday this year, I decided to help her knock this item off her bucket list. I clicked out of www.barneys.com, clicked into www.priceisright.com and put 4 tickets in my basket. Careful what you say around me, people. I might hear you.
I was the one who got on stage, but Lisa was thrilled to have a story for the ages. And even though I didn’t go home with the car, the kitchen or the trip to France… I totally know what went wrong. Here’s how to avoid making the same mistakes I did and WIN on The Price is Right.
Get the Mind-Set: This is not Mama Mia. You are not here to “enjoy the show.” The goal, let me remind you, is to win cash, prizes and more prizes and cash. Your mental vision board should have cut-outs of Electrolux convection ovens and overwater bungalows. You should know your sleep number and ring size. Tell your boss you’re going to need time off for Costa Rica. Prepare for victory.
Get Picked: You didn’t think the contestants were chosen randomly, did you? This is Hollywood, baby– there’s an audition! If you aren’t already a minority, make yourself one. Wear an eye patch. Look pregnant. Go red. But don’t stop there. Be animated. Use your entire body to express simple ideas. When the production assistant comes around to ask if you’d like lunch, jump up and down for “yes.” When she says they’re out of chicken sandwiches, throw yourself to the floor in a Victorian tantrum.
A hot pink t-shirt with the words “Girls Gone Plinko” wouldn’t hurt either (dignity aside).
Also, if possible, be a mommy blogger. “So you’re going to write about this?” asked the producer, eyes a-twinkle. “Yes, Sir. I will.”
Choose a Motley Crew: Not only do you need to stand out, your crew needs to stand out as well. I don’t care if your aunt has been a fan of the show since 1967 and spends her evenings studying grocery receipts– don’t invite that woman. She knows too much. The House looks at these people as high-risk. We went with our friend Elizabeth, a gorgeous and hilarious actor and pilates instructor and Lisa’s adorable and high-energy mom, Nancy (a.k.a. Grancy). “And what do you do, Nancy?” the producer asked. “I teach Special Ed,” she said, flipping up her tutu. “Woo-hoo!”
You need people like this on your team.
Whoop it up: After you ace the interview, keep the energy up for set. While seated, the producers are looking down from stage, still working out their choices. They’re placing people strategically and if you’re frowning they can still change their minds. Most importantly, when Drew Carey engages with you make sure you say the right things.
Drew: And what do you do Lisa?
Lisa: I’m in issues and crisis management.
Drew: Issues and crisis management? Oh Lisa, marry me!
She could’ve just said PR. But she didn’t. Because Lisa plays “Price” like a boss.
Drew: Hi Nancy.
Grancy: Hi Drew!
Drew: [reading Grancy’s shirt] Girls Gone Plinko, eh?
Drew: I gotta get that DVD!
Choose friends who aren’t afraid to flirt with the host. Even if that friend is your best friend’s mom.
Don’t be Afraid to be 01 Guy: My husband, seemingly more seasoned in the arts of TPIR, had prepped me the night before, “Whatever you do, don’t be the 01 Guy.” He was referring to the guy who bids one more than what you bid making it virtually impossible for you to win. “That guy’s a douchebag.”
Sure enough, after I bid 500 on my first item, the guy next to me bid 501… and won.
That’s when I knew my husband had no idea what he was talking about. He’d never been on The Price is Right. He’d never seen those super high-frequency noise-canceling headphones and iPod Touch in person. So he couldn’t know that YOU DO WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO TO WIN. Which is why I bid 601 in the next round. Nevermind that nobody bet 600. Point is, I won.
And I’m three pairs of Balmain sunglasses richer for it.
Ignore the Crowd: When you look out at the audience for help all you see are millions of flashing fingers telling you what number to say. What the hell do they know? Everyone is so pumped up on hope and greed and chicken sandwiches. I decided to zero in on my best friend for the answer. Big mistake. Do yourself a favor and don’t zero in on the person who just bought a $49,000 BMW. She doesn’t know squat about Honda.
Use Both Hands to Spin the Showcase Wheel: This is just solid practical advice. If the wheel doesn’t go all the way around- you’re out. You’ve come so far. Don’t screw it up with a lazy spin. Don’t try to look casual for your girlfriend back home- put both hands on the wheel and let your legs come off the ground when you pull. You’re on The Price is Right, dammit! The Showcase Showdown is right around the corner!
Know That You Were Already a Winner: You saw this coming didn’t you? Look. When that wheel doesn’t land on a dollar– and 01 Guy knocks you off the stage– you have to let it go. You can look forward to watching him lose to Patricia, that sweet caregiver who had never been out of the country and whose mother really needed that kitchen and who praised God ten-thousand times and brought you to tears and turned a silly game show into an out-of-body religious experience. Be grateful you already have a car, and that you’re not trying to unload another one on Craigslist while paying the taxes. Your privileged ass has already been to Europe where you did nothing for the world except eat brie off of Jim Morrison’s grave and learn how to smuggle hash from Amsterdam to London. Be grateful that you have your health and your family and your friends and that you are digitally documented as having had the time of your life on national television.
Congratulations. You won!