Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Local News

October 4, 2011

Effingham woman denied prize after raffle

EFFINGHAM — After Miriam Ciro got off work last Tuesday, she walked out the door of Village Square Mall in Effingham and noticed a large crowd gathering in front of the old Rural King building.

    It was the Effingham stop on the Snap-On Tools No Compromise Tour. Local Snap-On dealer Lee Kaufman said the event was open to the public, but geared toward those who buy Snap-On tools.

    Ciro, who works at the Yummy Candy & Cafe shop in the mall, picked up her children from day care and headed back to the mall for the Snap-On event. After getting free food and drink, she noticed there was a drawing for a go-kart as sort of a grand prize.

    She asked for and received a ticket without, she said, any indication that she had to be a Snap-On customer.

    “The only rule was that I had to be there at 7:45 p.m.,” she said.

    At the appointed time, the first two tickets drawn were invalidated because the bearers were no longer at the event.

    Ciro’s ticket was the third one picked. But Snap-On representatives denied her the prize because she admitted she was not a Snap-On customer.

    She thinks the denial was for another reason.

    “One, I am a woman, and two, I am Spanish,” said Ciro, an Ecuadorean immigrant who has lived in the United States for 24 years and in Effingham for the last 11.

    “I feel so sad,” she said. “I feel like they stole my car. I was thinking I never win anything, and finally I win something.”

    But it wasn’t to be.

    Even more galling, she said, was the fact that event organizers didn’t question the next winning ticket at all. Kaufman said that’s because the man was a familiar customer.

    But that doesn’t make Ciro feel any better.

    “I feel like I won,” she said. “My name was on the winning ticket.”

    Kaufman said he denied Ciro the prize only because she is not a Snap-On customer.

    “I just didn’t feel like it was right for our customers that her name was drawn, so I didn’t allow it to happen,” he said.

    Kaufman denied that there was any discrimination involved.

    “It’s because she doesn’t support our business,” he said. “I don’t feel bad about it. For her, not being a customer, to get the grand prize, wasn’t fair to the people who were,” he added. “I feel bad that she’s upset about it.

    “We offered her other prizes, like some book bags and other stuff, but she didn’t stick around,” he said.

    Kaufman also noted that Ciro and her family went through the food line at the event without any questions asked.

    Kaufman admitted there wasn’t any signage telling people the go-kart drawing was only for Snap-On customers.

    “We didn’t restrict entry, but maybe we should have quizzed anybody who wanted to draw for the grand prize,” he said. “With 500 customers, we may not have had the manpower to manage the event properly.”

    Effingham County State’s Attorney Ed Deters said Ciro would not likely have any recourse in criminal court.

    “It’s not the kind of thing our office would be interested in as a criminal matter,” Deters said. “It’s probably not the way you’d want to run a raffle, but I’ve never prosecuted these matters for 11 years and I’m not about to start now.”

    Bill Grimes can be reached at 217-347-7151 ext. 132 or bill.grimes@effinghamdailynews.com.

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