As kids, we dreamed of winning a lifetime supply of something—really, anything. It seems like a magical experience; one minute, you’re sitting there eating a can of green peas, and the next, you’ve got all of the peas you’d ever want for the rest of your time on Earth. Whether you win something that you use every day or something that’s essentially useless, it feels great to win, right?
Of course, in real life, things don’t always work out perfectly. In a remarkably interesting Reddit thread, lifetime supply winners shared their experiences. Some are pretty awesome—others, not so much. We collected a few of the best, then edited them for grammar and readability.
For kids, an inexhaustible supply of something can be…disappointing.
“I once won a year’s supply of Tropicana juice drink,” wrote Wgibbsw. “It was awesome, but you could only buy four cartons a month with dated vouchers, so it never really felt as magical as I was hoping. Nine-year-old me wanted, like, a dedicated Tropicana faucet in the kitchen.”
“In 7th grade, I won a year’s supply of animal crackers from my school,” wrote JohnTheLe. “The school bought a tub of animal crackers and ripped off the front label, so I just calculated the amount based off of the amount of servings from the back label. There were like 12 pieces per serving and 30 servings total.”
“I told my friend. We were off by three. The school gave us a tub every month. We got sick of it after two weeks, so we handed out animal crackers to all our friends to throw at each other like ninja stars. The principal revoked our year’s supply.”
At least those kids actually got to enjoy their respective prizes.
“When I was a kid, there was a phone-in competition to rename a popular children’s cereal,” wrote I_mormon_stuff. “It costs money to vote, as it was a premium [phone] number, but my mother let my younger brother vote for fun.”
“What we didn’t know at the time was that by voting, you’d be entered to win a lifetime supply of this cereal. My brother won. They called up, and our mother told them we didn’t want it.”
“My mother ruined our childhood by telling Kellogs we didn’t want their lifetime supply of cereal. I could be eating that right now. Sixteen years later, I could still be enjoying that cereal.”
Sometimes, a prize can actually make the world a better place.
In the 1990s, In_Plain_English’s grandfather won a lifetime subscription to Reader’s Digest.
“He was the only doctor in a small village in India with a population of less than 1000,” they explained. “He started stacking them up in his clinic, and the village kids would randomly browse through them. As long as there wasn’t a rush or they weren’t being loud, my granddad would let them sit there for as long as they wanted.”
“My parents had moved to a nearby city long before I was born, so I spent my summer vacations in the village with my grandparents. Every summer, I’d come to the village to find my rural friends speak better English than anyone else in the village—and in some cases, better than my English-school-educated city friends—and sharing jokes from the ‘Life’s Like That’ and ‘Laughter is the Best Medicine’ sections.”
“Every time I think back on it, I feel happy and proud of my granddad.”
Remember: “Lifetime supply” is a subjective term.
“I won a lifetime supply of knives,” wrote Lord_Of_the_Strings. “I guessed correctly how many sheets of paper the knife could stab through. After I broke the first two, I was told my third was my last one. Apparently, the knives were supposed to last a lifetime.”
Some manufacturers honor lifetime warranties, even if you don’t actually buy their products. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t limitations.
“At one point—they might still—Oakley had a lifetime warranty on their lenses,” wrote tipsyskipper. “My brother busted a pair, right through the lens. I begged him for two years to let me have the broken pair. Finally, he caved and gave them to me.”
“I sent them to Oakley, and a few weeks later, I had a nice new pair of sunglasses (and a brother who wasn’t too happy, as he didn’t think they’d honor the warranty). I promptly busted right through the lens in the same spot.”
“I sent that pair in, and a few weeks later, I had a nice new pair of sunglasses…and a letter that said, ‘Thanks for being a valued Oakley customer. This is your last pair.’”
That might sound like bad customer service, but remember: This guy didn’t even pay for the first pair. We’d say that Oakley was more than fair.
If you’re lucky, you’ll end up with an overabundance of the product in question.
Of course, that can also cause problems.
“I went to school with a kid whose mom won a lifetime supply of aluminum foil,” wrote Nelsonmavrick. “They wrap everything in foil. His whole lunch, every day, was wrapped in foil—his sandwich, fruit, etc.”
“[The company offering the lifetime supply] also makes one of those baking pouches, and that’s his lunch bag. When we had like dessert potluck, his cookies came wrapped in foil. I asked him about it once, and he said they even wrap all their Christmas presents in it. Even so, they still get too many boxes of it. They give it away to friends and family.”
“When I was little, I won a lifetime supply of apples by correctly guessing how many were in a barrel,” wrote Explain_To_The_Geeks. “There were 110, and I guessed 109. The prize was 110 apples at a time each month.”
“It was insane. After the first delivery, my parents begged them to stop. It’s impossible for a family of three to go through 110 apples before they rot, and our neighbors stopped answering the door when they saw my parents standing there with bags of apples.”
Free pizza giveaways are remarkably common.
The catch: You don’t necessarily get actual pizzas.
“A friend of mine won a lifetime supply of pizza from Pizza Hut,” xEvil_Tac0x wrote. “They calculated his age, the average pizzas a person consumes per year, did some mathemagical calculation, and Fed Ex’d him a check for $37,000. In my book, he won.”
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Best of all, he didn’t have to actually eat any Pizza Hut pizza.
[Editorial note: We’re joking, Pizza Hut. Feel free to send us free pizzas.]
“Last month I won a lifetime supply of pizza—one per day for the rest of my life—for being a restaurant’s 5000th Twitter follower,” wrote Quotefrommanstabbed. “Even better, my husband won too; we both followed to make sure one of us was the 5000th and didn’t realise the prize was for the 5000th and the 5001st. so we both get free pizza for life!”
“Plus, it’s really, really good pizza. It’s been called the best in the UK by a bunch of food critics, and it’s crazy popular locally. We’re pretty happy at the moment!
Some companies don’t actually ship their products to your door.
“My wife won a ‘lifetime supply’ of pet food for our cat,” wrote DMala. “They didn’t even bother sending product, they just tacked another few thousand dollars onto the $10,000 cash prize. That was a nice little windfall.”
“The only weird thing was that it was paid as a stack of maxed-out Visa gift cards. You can’t really pay things like mortgages and credit card bills with what’s basically a credit card, so we ended up using the gift cards for things like groceries. It’s pretty amazing how far your paycheck goes when you’re not paying anything for food and incidentals.”
Others ship you a giant wheel of cheese.
“I’m really into competitions, and although I’ve never won a lifetime supply of anything, I’ve won a year’s worth of cheese. Twice,” wrote one Reddit user.
“The first time was 12 vouchers, but for the second one, they actually sent me two massive cheese wheels. They were like 25 pounds each. I cut them up and filled my fridge and freezer (and the fridges and freezers of my friends) with cheese. It actually froze and defrosted really well. I’ll be eating that cheese for ages.”
Hey, at least it’s not Rice-A-Roni.
“My aunt won a lifetime supply of Rice-A-Roni from The Price is Right,” wrote Supasrirachaboy. “She used to get them faster than she could use them, but now (understandably), she is sick of it. She just stockpiles them in her Rice-A-Roni closet and donates hundreds of boxes of them at a time.”
“Yes. She has a full closet of Rice-A-Roni. The neighborhood kids love her.”
Most winners try to spread the good fortune.
“A friend of mine won lifetime Sonic on a radio contest,” wrote Pgirl30. “Every month, he gets a Sonic gift card for $200, and he takes everyone up there for a free meal. He spends the rest buying random peoples’ meals.”
“It wasn’t a ‘lifetime’ supply, but I won free pizza for a year from this bomb place, PizzaRev,” wrote one Reddit user. “I only got one pizza a week, but most of the time I’d go with friends, family, or dates, and they’d just give me the entire party’s pizzas for free.”
“So really, most weeks I got two to four free pizzas, and I never missed a week. They knew me by name there. All the employees would greet me with, ‘Ey, it’s free pizza guy!’ I miss that free pizza.”
Of course, prizes can lose their value over time.
“When I was a kid, I won two free Blockbuster rentals a month for life,” wrote Pawnbrojoe. “It was awesome for a while. Now it’s not going so well…”
“I won what could be considered a lifetime supply of M&M’s from a contest held by some club in my high school,” wrote Ersh777. “You had to guess the number of M&Ms in this massive jar, so being the nerd I am, I borrowed a friends calculator and mathematically calculated the number.”
“I was off by like 30 in a jar with over 16,000 M&M’s in it. I had M&M’s for years and could not put a dent it that supply. Eventually, I had to throw them out because M&M’s do get funky after a few years. To this day some 20 years later, I still do not care for plain M&M’s.”
This next story is pretty uplifting—at first, anyway.
“I found a bank deposit envelope from a barbershop when I was about 10 years old,” wrote Drdrewross. “I returned it—with all the cash and the hundreds of checks—and was rewarded with a lifetime of free haircuts. Just what every kid wants, I know.”
“I used them until I graduated from high school, and then less frequently when I visited my family when I came home from college. Then, I used them maybe once or twice more until—you guessed it—I started losing my hair. Now I shave my head, so the reward is pretty much worthless.”
And before you go to any great lengths to win something, make sure it’s worth it.
“I got a Hot Doug’s tattoo because they advertised that they would give you lifetime of free hotdogs if you did so,” wrote one user, whose account has since been deleted. “They closed before the tattoo healed.”
Some companies are remarkably generous.
“I won a lifetime supply of free coffee from a brew shop in town,” wrote Berthabiggun. “I guessed correctly how many beans were in a tall plastic cylinder. The shop closed five months later.”
“In 2009 I entered the mychipotle.com contest with a music video and came in second place,” wrote Clapyahands. “The prize was $5,000, and a party for 50 of our friends at Chipotle—everyone ate for free.”
“Winning that was awesome, but honestly the best part was that after the contest was over, Chipotle asked me how many people were involved in the making of the music video we made. They sent a deck of playing cards for each person. The catch: Each card in the deck had ‘One Free Burrito’ written on it. Yeah, including jokers—56 free Chipotle burritos.”
“Since I was the first person to find out and receive these decks of cards, I kept it a secret. I called each person individually and said I had a gift for them. Seeing them open the deck of cards, figure out what it was, then react to it was the best part of this whole thing. Each of them volunteered their time to make the video with no promise of winning or of any reward.”
“So all in all, no lifetime winnings, but to a bunch of teenagers, it certainly felt like a lifetime of burritos.”
One person says that winning a contest made him into an entrepreneur.
“I won a year’s supply of Warhead candies,” wrote Zomgitsduke. “We were in Walmart when I was about 10 or 11 years old. They had a contest to do a sour pucker-up face for Warheads, and the winner received a year’s supply of the candy, including experimental candies that weren’t sold in stores yet.”
“I decided to join and was told to come back in 20 minutes when the contest started. I was the only one there. I won by default.”
“Throughout 5th and 6th grade, I received boxes upon boxes of candy every month. It was as if they wanted to give me diabetes because I was getting about $200 worth of candy every month.”
“I started giving it out to friends and family like crazy. Fast forward a couple months into 6th grade, and I’m selling it. I made a good $20 a day in quarters and dimes (10 cents each, or three for 25 cents).”
“Fast forward to high school, and I’m a candy kingpin. I was selling candy bars I bought from Sam’s Club.”
Unfortunately, he spent the money on a dark, addictive, and destructive habit: Magic: The Gathering cards.
“The investment has matured nicely,” he wrote. “Card prices have gone way up since then.”
Wondering how these companies choose the winners?
Here’s the answer.
“I’ve been responsible for giving away a lot of lifetime supply prizes,” wrote Stuartiscool. “I work in advertising, and as account manager, it often falls to me to pick the person who will win. Most unlimited supplies are based on how much you would normally consume in a year, so they’re not truly unlimited.”
“The best one I gave away was a lifetime supply of camping gear. The company went all out, sending the guy hundreds of pounds’ worth of merchandise every month including coats, tents, etc.”
“Pro tip for winning social media competitions: The winner is never truly randomly selected. There are literally thousands of stay-at-home moms that spend all day, every day entering these sorts of competitions. I actively avoid letting them win and would rather give the prize to someone that would really use it.”
“So if you’re entering one for a camping-related prize, make sure you look like a camping guy. Have a profile picture where’ you’re hiking or in a tent. Make it easy for me to see that you’re the real deal, as 99 percent of entries are bored housewives.”
To be fair, it’s not just “bored housewives.” Sometimes, it’s bored grandpas.
“My grandpa enters every contest imaginable and once won free tampons for a year,” heregoes17 wrote. “My sisters and I got to take them because my grandpa doesn’t have a uterus.”
“To enter the contest, he had to post on social media. His entries were hilarious—all things about being a strong, independent woman. That man has no shame if he can win something, even if it’s completely useless to him.”