January 5, 2007

Babies R USA! USA! USA!


Check out the awesome brain trust running this Toys R Us/Babies R Us promotion, which offered a $25,000 savings bond to the first American baby born in 2007. Contest administrators chose new New Yorker Yuki Lin in a random 3-way drawing with two other babies, all reported by their respective hospitals to have been born at midnight.

Yuki's parents are both 22-year-old restaurant workers from China, and in the process of verifying the paperwork, someone from the NY Downtown Hospital let on that Yuki's mom might not be a legal US resident, a requirement of the contest's fine print. Never mind that TRU/BRU was promoting the contest to "all expectant New Years mothers" and even allowed the hospitals to apply on their patients' behalf.

After the win, Toys disqualified little Yuki, who is, of course, a US citizen, and awarded the bond to the runner up, a "black American" who is "American all the way" in Georgia. [The third baby's parent's are from El Salvador, via Queens. See a trend here yet?]

As the winning baby's [Jayden, of course] grandmother told the NY Times,

“If she’s an illegal alien, that makes the baby illegal,” said Ms. Keller, 50. Told otherwise, she remarked, “Sounds like a double standard to me,” adding, “She was disqualified — that should be it. Don’t go changing your mind now.”
Like I said: Awesome.

At a 6% risk-free discount rate, a bond worth $25,000 in 2024 would cost about $8,800 today. Three bonds would've been $26,000. Judging by the attention this story's gotten from the Asian American and immigrant communities in the US in just a week, I'm sure the sweepstakes has generated at least ten, maybe even twenty times that in free publicity already. And that's gotta help business at Toys R Us's brand new store in Shanghai. Yes, very auspicious indeed.

First-Baby Sweepstakes Fuels Immigration Debate [nyt]
Baby New Year is a Downtown Darling! [image via downtownhospital.org]
Toys "R" Us opens first China branch, launching Shanghai store just in time for Christmas [ap/iht.com]


Things are looking up for little Yuki:
Toys ‘R’ Us reverses itself on baby’s prize

[sorry, Geoffrey, the mob has spoken! That is so awesome, I love this country. -ed.]

I am thrilled that the company has to shell out for three prizes now instead of just shafting the kid with the ignorant grandmother.

[ignorant, but all american. -ed.]

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