Meet The Compers: Geoff Dagger
Today I’m delighted to bring you another ‘Meet the Compers’ interview with Geoff Dagger. Geoff is a member of my Lucky Learners Facebook group and always brightens up the wins posts with his photo collages showing his favourite wins of the month! Geoff has been comping for over forty years and his wins include a VW Polo, four trips to America and two trips to the World Cup.
Thanks so much for joining me for a SuperLucky Q&A Geoff!
Do you remember when you entered your first competition?
In my teens I occasionally wrote letters to magazines and would draw the odd cartoon for them, earning small amounts of money.. Then in 1982 I read an article about a successful comper and thought “why not me?”, so decided to give it a go. I made a pact with myself that I would try for a year and if my wins did not cover my comping expenses I would give up. Fortunately I managed that, and I have done every year since!
My first win, a bottle of Tia Maria, came very quickly and my first largish win – to spend New Year in Amsterdam – came after about a year of comping.
How different is comping now to when you first started?
Almost unrecognisable – home computers, the internet and mobile phones didn’t exist! Most comping was carried out via the Royal Mail. I used to refer to my local postbox as the ‘Pillar Box of Dreams’. Most comping in those days was via entry forms found at supermarkets, or via postcard for magazine or radio competitions.
Also the content was quite different, as when a proof of purchase was required the competition format had to be a test of skill. So slogans, captions and order-of-merit were the order of the day. A different mindset was needed – when you needed to work on your slogans you could enter as few as ten comps a week and still be quite successful (I now enter ten comps before breakfast most days!)
I’m not sure if it’s just nostalgia, but I remember prize pools as being larger – multiple cars being given in the same competition was a regular occurrence. Very small prizes were rarely offered. Who would go to the expense of posting off an entry to win a couple of wax melts!
You had news of a fantastic win from Nestlé at the end of 2021 – tell me more about that!
This was in the ‘Sofa to Sunshine’ promotion which I entered at least weekly throughout the competition period. On the day I won, I hadn’tt checked my e-mail all day as I was having a previous prize of some bedroom furniture delivered that day. It was only when I was picking my wife up from work that I checked my phone whilst waiting. I would have been more than happy to win one of the weekly £1,000 prizes, but I was totally flabbergasted to find out that I was the winner of a £10,000 holiday of my choice!
Once my packaging and receipt had been verified I was put in contact with the company who were responsible for delivering the prize. They basically said tell us the holiday you would like and we will work with you to create it. After much discussion we decided on the type of holiday we wanted, then we asked advice from a trusted travel agent who planned a holiday for our budget. We then went back to the handling company who said, if that’s the holiday you want we will book it directly with your travel agent – simple as that.
So we are off on an African Safari, visiting five national parks, staying in luxury lodges with our own private guide. Then we fly off for five nights in Zanzibar. Isn’t comping great!
2021 was one of your most successful comping years! We know about your KitKat prize, but tell us about the others.
I’m not the most organised of compers so there is a real mishmash of entries. So things like my holiday, steam railway day, luxury Honda for 48 hours and Premier League tickets were from online forms. My Cadbury World weekend, Fortnum and Mason hamper, £150 meal credit, a fantastic shelving unit, and my super Parker Knoll chair were from Instagram. Some concert tickets were via e-mail entries. And my bedroom furniture units, my festive meat hamper and Premier League tickets were won with Facebook. So these and many other prizes were won from here, there and everywhere. It’s worth mixing it up both in terms of prizes and making comping more fun!
What are your favourite competition websites, forums or resources?
Apart from Lucky Learners which I check most days and a couple of Facebook groups that deal with local competitions I don’t really use many competition websites. I find by having a few friends on Instagram and Facebook, and doing a bit of Googling I have more comps than I can comfortably cope with to enter. I do occasionally dip into Competitions Database and Prizefinder but find being listed on these sites most of the competitions have a huge number of entries.
Do you have a comping routine?
I don’t have any sort of a routine really. To me comping is a fun hobby, if I become obsessed with my number of entries or how long I’m spending on them it would take some of the pleasure away. If I had to guess I would say I spend two to three hours a day on average. My only routine is I start the day on Instagram because they usually take so little effort and I can do them while having my breakfast.
Some compers who started back in the 70s and 80s think it’s not worth the effort now – what would your advice be to them?
That’s a difficult one, because to some extent I’m in their camp. Back then, comping was more engaging, fulfilling and fun. Lets face it, where’s the pleasure in filling your details in using ‘auto-fill’ and pressing enter. Sorry if I’m sounding like an old grump, I do still really love my hobby. Like everything in life, change will happen and it’s always better if you can embrace it rather than letting it beat you. My advice would be there are lots of great prizes still out there to be won and enjoyed, it’s foolish not to give it a try.
What’s your favourite prize, and why was it so special?
I’ve had many so many wonderful prizes over the years, but one stands out above all the others. In the mid 90’s I won a fabulous VW Polo. I had a young family, a low paid job and a car that had seen better days. Winning the car with Cadbury’s Jestive biscuits really changed our lives for the better. I still get a lovely warm feeling when I think of receiving that winning telephone and of the presentation.
What’s your favourite type of competition?
This would be a strange one for most people, but my favourite would be putting amusing captions to photos or cartoons. These type of competitions don’t usually have large prizes involved, but they are such fun to do. I’d love to see more caption and slogan competitions, although I don’t see that happening anytime soon. I think with comping you just have to make the best of what’s available and get on with it.
What do your friends and family think of your comping hobby?
My family are very supportive of my hobby. My wife always keeps her eye open for comps, asks if there’s anything I need with the shopping and treats till receipts like they are a rare treasure. My daughter after years of being involved with my comping (sometimes embarrassingly), now comps herself with varying amounts of success. My granddaughter is also now keeping the family tradition alive and recently designed a poster which won her a day at the zoo where she fed a sloth, giraffes, lemurs and tortoises.
With friends I am usually quite reticent about telling them about my wins. Sometimes some of their comments are not always that supportive, jealousy sometimes does strange things to otherwise lovely people (perhaps I’m too sensitive!).
Have you ever had any celebrity encounters as a result of a prize?
I’ve had a number of meetings with celebrities. My favourite was with Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris backstage at Radio City Music Hall in New York. Mark (who doesn’t particularly like meet and greets) arranged a jam session which involved some former members of Dire Straits. After it had finished the tour manager stepped forward and said “Mark and Emmylou, Geoff and Dale Dagger have come over from England to see you – can you spare them a few minutes?”. We were then afforded a lovely meet and greet with them.
I’ve also trained with the Liverpool football team and took part in a mini tournament with some of their senior European Cup winning players. I’ve spent a day training with Olympic athlete John Regis, and had a meet and greet with the cast of the ABC Television series ‘Nashville’.
Oh …does Mickey Mouse count?
What do you love most about comping?
I have to say I love the randomness that comping brings into my life. You try new products, go to new venues and have amazing experiences that ordinarily you would not.
On a weekend not too long ago I spent Friday night in Blackpool watching Romeo and Juliet, Saturday night in Wigan at a Rugby League international, Sunday at a Beautiful South concert in Blackburn and Monday night at an Opera in Manchester. Who but a comper has a life like that?
Is there anything about competitions that frustrates you?
I hate it when comps don’t have clear closing dates or instructions. Or when they do and promoters don’t follow them themselves. I hate it when fellow compers are inconsiderate or lack manners. I once won a prize that was one of a hundred very good prizes, on speaking with the promoter I found that I was the only one to write and say thank you.
Do you have any funny comping stories to share?
I once won a Barbed Wire prize from the local cinema, and when I went to collect it I parked the car on the pavement outside the cinema so I could quickly nip in to get it. The manager greeted me and said “There it is!”. He pointed to a huge standee of Pamela Anderson in her leather gear. Too timid to say no thanks, I attempted to get the 9 foot Pammy into my Mini Metro – just as a conference was finishing in the Town Hall opposite the cinema. Around a hundred people came out to witness me wrestling with Pamela on the pavement. Take this as a warning, be careful what you enter for!
On another occasion I was told to meet a representative from a well known chocolate producer at Sheffield station. In amongst the many football fans at the station on a Saturday evening, I spotted a well dressed man in a suit and decided he was probably the person I was looking for. I wandered up to him and said “Excuse me, are you the man from Mars?”. He took one look at me and edged away, then almost ran out of the station without looking back. I can imagine that night in the pub, him telling his friends about the lunatic at the station who thought he was some kind of an alien!
What would be your dream competition prize?
Like most people the dream would be the car or a large cash prize. Though I have to say the ones that bring the most joy are the ones that make you do something different – the real money can’t buy experiences!
Finally, do you have any tips for compers in a dry spell?
Like most things in life, you get out of it what you put into it. So if you’re not winning,work harder, look for local comps, try something different. If you stick at it you will win.
Thanks so much for sharing your comping stories with SuperLucky readers Geoff – and good luck with winning that car!
If you enjoyed this Meet The Compers interview please do check out the rest of the series here.