For two Summers in a row, back in the 1970's, I, Alison May, won a bottle of Pomagne I wasn't old enough to drink. And that my Darlings was the end of my winning streak until I found myself runner-up in the Elle Magazine Talent Contest 1993, and ten years later the winner of £500.00 in a National Poetry competition, which was methinks actually a prize from the universe because at that very moment in time I could not have needed that money more. While the old adage "you have got to be in it to win it" is probably the reason why I do not consider myself a natural winner, because I have never entered the National Lottery and never knowingly entered an on-line competition, it seems the universe has decided to bless me with a little something once a decade, for this month, at the grand old age of forty and 11/12ths I have won an iPhone (Squeal!).
If you know me well you will know that my faith in the dear old universe (though everybody laughs at me!) is stronger than my desire for an unadulterated romp with Robbie Williams. I trust it. And I have come to the conclusion that there is no need to question it. But heck I do wish it wasn't quite so enamored by the pleasure/pain principle for sometimes it almost feels as though I have to endure a teeny bit of hell before the universe will reward my efforts in life's endurance test with a small slice of heaven .
So we had spent the day in the lovely children's hospital Alder Hey, having Finley's diagnosis of OFG or Oral Crohn's Disease confirmed by kindly little doctor. I had come to expect a good diagnosis but it was not to be, and because I had not worn my preemptive armor the news in combination with the dark hell that has been the past eighteen month's, almost knocked me over. I was shell-shocked and sad for my little one. I was even a little shell-shocked and sad for me and I do not think I have ever felt lower than that evening when I turned on my computer and discovered I had won an iPhone 5.
Readers I am not ashamed to say that I had a little weep. Not because Finley assured me that all iPhone competitions were an on-line scam, nor because I didn't already own an iPhone 4 I was surgically attached to, but because the world moves in peculiar ways and had clearly decided that tonight I needed cheering up with a gift from a company with an ethos I believe in.
I joined FFrees in January, after reading a press release about a financial service with a manifesto for change they were shouting from the rooftops.
Signing up was a straight forward process and within a few days my Ffrees card had arrived. Ffrees describe themselves as a Family Money Hub, and a business with a bit of extra soul, saving up money for you, each time you spend. And that has been my experience of the company so far: that they are indeed a business with a bit of extra soul, addressing the credit crunch in the place it has hurt most- Mum's pockets.
I am not expecting to earn big bucks with Ffree's. On average I will earn a 6% rebate on anything I spend with my FFree's card and 2% interest on my savings once I have earned over 100 Ffrees. So clearly not mega-money. But it is the ethos that pleases me: I too want something back for every pound I spend in the supermarkets, for every policy I feel obliged to buy. I want to feel as though my repeat business is valued and recognized and indirectly Frrees enables this.
Though I will not be using my Ffree's card with a vengeance until the end of this month, I am pleased to see that the brands I spend with daily are signed up to Ffrees, from Marks and Spencers to Asda, and in the online world, from Clarks to Emma Bridgewater. So I will just carry on spending as usual and the Ffrees will gently tot up as a result...
I couldn't be more impressed, especially when though barely realising I had entered a prize draw by signing up to Ffrees , I turned out to be the winner!
So here I am: the proud owner of an iPhone 5. Though last week was spent in a muddle of Vodafone problems, this week both my email account and my lovely new phone are fully functioning and I am finally back in the land of communication from today.
Please know that I would not recommend a financial product like this (even with an accidental sweetener like an iPhone!) if I did not believe in it. The credit crunch we are currently living through has hurt so many of us financially and emotionally and big business and greedy banks have fleeced us for too long. It's about time we voted with our feet and chose companies who value our custom, to trust with our money.
It's about time we asked for our money back.