New Yorkers Can Really Win Something at the Fair This Summer
I used to love going to the fair as a kid. In the boondocks of upstate New York, the fair was a wonderful big mess of commerce, risk, and excitement. The rides were okay, but it was the games that got your blood going: a chance to win a big beer goblet (even though we were too young to drink beer) or a wall-eyed stuffed animal or something else equally great.
In retrospect, the winnings were pretty paltry. Mostly you came away with sunburn, a stomach ache from all the fried dough, and thoroughly empty pockets.
This summer, however, New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli has turned the upstate fairs into a potential bonanza. Here’s what a press release from his office has to say:
New Yorkers can find out if they are owed some of the state’s $9 billion in unclaimed funds at events across the state in August …
“New York has $9 billion in unclaimed fund accounts. We want to return this money to its rightful owners,” DiNapoli said. “The money belongs to New Yorkers. We want to give it back.” Representatives from DiNapoli’s office will be on site at the events listed below to help New Yorkers find out if they are owed money. New Yorkers and others may also check for unclaimed funds at www.osc.state.ny.us or by calling toll free at 1-800-221-9311.
The fairs are listed below. My first thought is that this is an easy publicity stunt for DiNapoli, who is not shy about making his accomplishments known. And if you can already check for unclaimed funds on a web site or by phone, why go to the trouble of staking out a fair?
But the more I thought about it, the more the fair seemed like a great place to give people back their money. It’s a huge and fairly captive audience, probably cheaper than standard advertising, and, since just about every other booth at the fair is looking to take your money, the DiNapoli operation should stand out nicely.
It will be interesting to see the results. It would be even more interesting if in fact the fair operation was in part a criminal sting hoping to use the incentive of greed to round up some bad guys who should be in jail.