Dining For Great Justice

I spun the Chope birthday wheel 2,739 times. Here’s what happened.

May the odds be ever in your favor.

I’ve never considered myself to be particularly lucky.

In all my years of flying, I’ve never scored a free upgrade. I always get a parking ticket the one time I forget to put a coupon, and the “Get Lucky” song sounds to me like a surefire way to get an STD.

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That’s why I’m somewhat apprehensive about my chances with Chope’s 8th Birthday game. Launched last week, the spin-the-wheel contest teases such prizes as staycations at the JW Marriott and Andaz Singapore, air tickets, four-digit dining vouchers, gojek and Lazada promo codes, and something intriguingly called a “super vibrator massage” that makes me giggle uncontrollably when I read it aloud.

Because haven’t we all needed a super vibrator massage at some point in our lives?

But I’m not one to turn down a birthday invite, especially when vibrating massages are on the menu, so I create a free account and get three spins instantly.

The game is incredibly simple. All you need to do is spin a lazy susan with eight dishes and see which one lands in front of you. Your prize (if any) is displayed on screen and an email is sent with the details. The whole thing is over in 20 seconds.

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And yet once you spin, you want to spin again. It’s some straight up Pavlovian jackpot psychology, and it’s deceptively addictive.

My first experience is underwhelming. Out of three tries, I get one no-win, one bonus 50 Chope$ code and one $2 ChopeDeals voucher (minimum purchase $30). I rope in my wife to try, and she fares no better with two no-wins and a 100 Chope$ code. The game has a referral mechanic which offers five free spins for every person you refer, so I pen a quick post and head off to bed.

I wake up the next morning to this.

Apparently, everyone loves a game of chance, especially when it’s free-to-play.

The morning is spent doing non-stop spinning. As the day goes by, more tokens come in such that I’m gaining spins at a faster rate than I can use them.

My wife is starting to suspect something. During lunch, my hands move furtively beneath the table, swiping and tapping away. While she’s counting her calories, I’m counting the times the wheel spins. While she’s playing with her food, I’m playing with how strong I swipe the spin bar. While she’s marveling over predestination as demonstrated in Ephesians, I’m marveling over predestination as demonstrated in Chope’s algorithm not giving me a staycation.

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Oh crap. She’s staring at me. I’m supposed to be nodding or not nodding or something.

“You’re playing that stupid game again aren’t you?” she says.

“Chope. I mean, nope.”

She rolls her eyes.

I quickly do the math. I now have 2,500 spins and climbing. Each spin involves three taps- one to play, one to spin and one to return to the play screen. This means 7,500 taps, a guaranteed recipe for Carpel Tunnel Syndrome and grounds for my wife to banish me to the couch for the rest of the year.

I need a way of automating this.

Later that afternoon I research the problem and come across a program called iMacros. This Chrome add-in lets me record a sequence of mouse clicks, just what I need to automate a repetitive task.

After many rounds of trial and error, I finally figure out I need to add ERRORIGNORE and WAIT commands before it runs smoothly. The end result looks something like this:

SET !ERRORIGNORE YES
VERSION BUILD=1005 RECORDER=CR
URL GOTO=https://birthday.chope.co/share
EVENT TYPE=MOUSEDOWN SELECTOR=”#app>DIV>DIV>DIV:nth-of-type(3)>DIV>A” BUTTON=0
EVENT TYPE=MOUSEMOVE SELECTOR=”#app>DIV>DIV>DIV:nth-of-type(3)>DIV>A” POINT=”(328,461)”
EVENT TYPE=MOUSEUP POINT=”(328,461)”
EVENT TYPE=CLICK SELECTOR=”#app>DIV>DIV>DIV:nth-of-type(3)>DIV>A” BUTTON=0
WAIT SECONDS=3
EVENT TYPE=MOUSEDOWN SELECTOR=”#app>DIV>DIV>DIV:nth-of-type(2)>DIV” BUTTON=0
EVENTS TYPE=MOUSEMOVE SELECTOR=”#app>DIV>DIV>DIV:nth-of-type(2)>DIV” POINTS=”(212,493),(212,493),(214,493),(218,493),(221,493),(225,493),(233,493),(249,493),(256,493),(265,493),(280,493),(291,493),(302,493),(324,493),(334,493),(354,493),(359,493),(370,492),(376,492),(382,492),(386,492),(388,492),(390,492)”
EVENT TYPE=MOUSEUP POINT=”(390,492)”
WAIT SECONDS=6
EVENT TYPE=CLICK SELECTOR=”#app>DIV>DIV>A” BUTTON=0

Or, visually speaking:

I smile smugly as the macro purrs along. The Chope wheel spin hypnotically, and before long, I start to notice enough trends to put together the following.

As the wheel spins, my inbox starts to overflow with Chope prize emails.

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I want to take stock of my winnings, but I’m not about to trawl through a few thousand emails. I need a way to parse all the information into an easy-to-read format. Thanks to Email Parser, I’m able to automatically capture the prize values and codes in an Excel file as soon as they enter my inbox.

It works like a charm, and I see my spreadsheet populating like clockwork.

About twenty three hours later, it’s done. My macro has run a total of 2,739 spins, and my email parser has dutifully compiled each and every win.

The results? Well, they’re either a grim reality check on the odds of winning, or a meta-commentary on the state of my luck.

In 2,739 spins, I win a total of 2,358 prizes, or a win rate of 86%. That doesn’t sound too bad, until you consider that of the 2,358 prizes, 2,357 (99.9%) are Chope$ or ChopeDeals vouchers. The only other prize I win is a $100 dining certificate at somewhere called Lokkee. It’s not quite “the cake is a lie“, but assuming that spin events are all independent events (and they should be), I believe my sample size is large enough to conclude the following:

Results from 2,739 spins
Distribution of Chope$ and ChopeDeals codes

It’s true that since certain prizes are in limited supply, the odds will technically keep evolving as prizes are won. That said, 2,358 wins and 2,357 Chope$/ChopeDeals prizes means one of the following:

(1) All the good prizes have been won already

(2) I’m so lucky I’d give Frank Selak a run for the money

I’m not sold on the value of the ChopeDeals codes (given their high minimum spend), but I do fancy the Chope$. A 300 Chope$ code, stacked with my LiveUp and Chope Gold status, would net me a hefty 650 Chope$ per reservation, enough for a $10 dining voucher (and just 50 Chope$ shy of $20). Two such reservations and I’d have enough for 1,000 KrisFlyer miles.

The problem is, all the codes need to be used by 31 July. Even if I dined out every meal of the day, it’d take more than a year to exhaust all my Chope$ codes.

It’s a nice problem to have, but I’m now stuck with a few thousand codes I’ll never use. My first instinct is to post them up for anyone to use on a first-come-first-serve basis, but I make the mistake of asking for permission rather than forgiveness by sending a quick email to Chope.

The Chope representative politely declines my request, and shortly after, this line appears in the T&Cs.

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That’s kind of a bummer, but I suppose if someone urgently needed a Chope code and sent me a message, sending one via email wouldn’t contravene anything…

The last thing to do is head down to Chope’s office on the top floor of Shaw Tower to collect my $100 dining voucher.

Chope’s office is pretty much standard-issue startup decor: bright, communal working spaces, colorful armchairs, a foosball table, and the distinct sense that everyone here will either be incredibly wealthy or totally broke in five years.

There’s no receptionist, but I manage to flag a passing Chope employee who finds someone to assist me. She asks if I have a minute to talk, and shows me to a small room.

“This is it,” I think. “They’ve taken exception to my use of macros and I’m not leaving this building alive. They’re gonna Titus Andronicus me and send my remains to one of their less-preferred restaurants.”

I’m about ready to abseil down the side of the building with my socks and boxers when she returns with a colleague. It turns out they just want to shoot an Instagram video, because I’m the second person to show up to claim a prize and they’re trying to build excitement about the campaign (engagement had no doubt taken a hit after it was revealed that 1 of the 5 super vibrator massages had already been won)

Although I think that being on Instagram is somewhat worse than what happened to Chiron and Demetrius, I’m very bad at saying no. So we shoot a brief interview and after that, I’m handed a printout to sign for my gift (I notice there are quite a few names on it, suggesting that other people did indeed get lucky).

Before I leave, they mention that additional prizes will be added to the pool next week. So if you’re hoarding your tokens, you might want to keep your powder dry for now.

I figure I’ll try it again. I mean, I may be 2,739 times unlucky, but I can’t be 2,740 times unlucky right?

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Right?


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Benuel
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Benuel

You sir are a champion

milelionfan
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milelionfan

i loled the entire way. You should write a book.

Raymond Wee
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What a fun read. It’s super hilarious as usual!

Chewybites
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Chewybites

You need to do a TED Talk on this. Like what that guy James Veitch did with his spam email reverse-scamming adventures.

Louis
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Louis

Double thumbs up for the ingenuity and humour.

WH
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WH

This reminds me of the McDonalds monopoly game. What I believe is that typically, the top prizes (aka the cake), are usually withheld from the pool to continue building hype and will only be released near the end of the campaign. Secondary prizes will be trickled out throughout the campaign period.

After all, it’ll be such a bummer if the top prize was won on the first day, no? It’s statistically possible, so the odds are deliberately changed by the campaign owner (to 0%).

E S
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E S

Carpal Tunnel & Banished to the couch is the worst possible combo. You always want your wrist to be working fine when being exiled from the bedroom.

Yi Kai
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Yi Kai

I laugh so hard at this part:

““This is it,” I think. “They’ve taken exception to my use of macros and I’m not leaving this building alive. They’re gonna Titus Andronicus me and send my remains to one of their less-preferred restaurants.”

I’m about ready to abseil down the side of the building with my socks and boxers when she returns with a colleague.”

Lambert
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Lambert

Champ indeed! Speaking of SQ upgrades, I must have lucked out this year. Got upgraded from Business to Suites (on my birthday flight), another time was from Economy to Premium Economy (on a revenue ticket), and the last one was just last week from Business to First (revenue ticket).

Jack
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Jack

How did you request for the upgrade?

Lambert
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Lambert

I didn’t, it was given to me automatically.

Chewybites
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Chewybites

What offerings of sacrifice have you given to the Upgrade Gods? (Did you go Titus Andronicus on Aaron? Was that the secret to getting good upgrades automatically?)

Lambert
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Lambert

I think the secret is not to reveal too many secrets else the rest of us might start losing out on such upgrades. 🙂 For starters try becoming a Solitaire member – you can lots of hidden perks!

GZ
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GZ

Big fan! What an awesome automation!!

HAE
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HAE

Hello you can space out your macro to run every 30 secs / 1 min! So far when I spin consecutively, I yield the same prize two in a row sometimes!

Wish I had as many tokens as you!!!!