Here's What Happens When You Play, and Win, The Price is Right

When my wife and I walked into the famous studio at The Price is Right, we had NO idea what was about to happen. We went through the whole process: showing up early, doing our interview (Yes, they interview everyone in the audience to choose who gets picked!)

The page took me and my wife to our seats, which were LITERALLY right behind contestants row. At this moment, I’m freaking out. I have the best seats to the show I watched all through my childhood (not knowing my seat would get even better in just a few minutes) 

George Gray, the announcer and voice of Price is Right comes out to greet everyone and announces that it’s “Big Money Week”. All of the prizes will be cash prizes today, and the audience goes NUTS. He tells us all of the rules again, that if you get called, run up, the microphone will adjust to your height, if you make it on stage, run up these stairs, etc. Then, before we know it, the show gets started.

The one thing that you dont really expect is that the studio is LOUD. Literally 300 people screaming their guts out all hoping to be picked. Nobody can hear ANY of the names being called, so the show holds up cue cards to SEE your name. 

Everyone screams, the music starts, and everyone is cheering, while also trying to stare at the cue card guy. The first name gets called: “Christopher”. I look over and notice that it’s the man who was next to me in line the whole morning. I was geniunely happy and jumping and cheering for him as he ran down. They call the second name and a woman screams and runs down from the other side of the studio.

Then I hear a muffled name get called and look up and see the cue card guy holding my name. This. is. Happening. I honestly don’t remember what I did, I just screamed and stood up. I didn’t have too far to go, so I didn’t get to high five everyone on my run down but WHO CARES?! I just got called down on The Price is Right! 

I get down to contestants row and am jumping and hugging the other contestants. Were all sharing screams and “I can’t believe this” and are all out of breath and trying to wake up from this dream of being able to play the most famous game show of all time. Before we know it, we look up and see Drew Carey standing there and the audience roaring. Yup. This is real.

Before I even have a moment to realize everything, Drew brings down the first item up for bids. A gold iPhone drops from the ceiling. My mind is spinning “Wait, I think I saw this, theyre expensive….maybe around a thousand dollars? But wait, I can’t overbid, so maybe I should go lower.” I look back at my wife and the entire audience is literally a wall of sound of numbers, I can’t make out a thing. 

The other thing that is hard to explain is you can’t really hear the description of the item. In hindsight, I should have just asked how many gigs it was, and what model it was. The other thing that is impossible to hear is the bids of the people next to you. I remember as a kid thinking how dumb they were when they’d ask “What are the bids so far?” I’d think: ARE YOU NOT PAYING ATTENTION?! HOW COULD YOU NOT REMEMBER?! Now I know they literally can’t hear.

I thought I heard the first guy say 999, and the second bid say “one thosdfhasbdf” so I knew she was higher. Ok strategy time. I thought it was around a thousand, so I’m gonna go lower. I bid 750 thinking I should be good.

They announced the price as 1,250 and the woman to my right screams and runs up on stage in a flurry. I sit down and think, OK, i didnt get up on stage first, but I still have 5 chances.

Here comes the next item up for bid on the Price is Right train. It’s…….heels. No. God no. I don’t know anything about this. I’m in the best spot possible and I still have not even a vague clue. For some reason, my brain was telling me $1,500. I couldn’t hear the description at all, and half of them were blocked by a camera. I’m looking at my wife, confused, and everyone in the audience is throwing out wildly different numbers. Drew then leans down to the four of us and says “They’re Prada”

Ok, Prada shoes. Devil Wears Prada. They’re probably wildly expensive. Double what you were thinking. $3,000 maybe? More?! First bid: 2700, Second Bid: 2300, Third bid: 2301, and now it’s my turn. I know what I need to do. Proudly I announced: 2701!

I was fairly confident I may get up this time, but I still have no idea the cost of heels. Drew had some mishap with the envelope with the correct answer so we had to hang out for a second. This felt like an eternity. I just wanted to shout JUST TELL ME IF I WON.

He pulls out the envelope. Actual retail price: $3,760. The second I heard the 3, my heart stopped and I was in disbelief. I ACTUALLY GET TO PLAY THE PRICE IS RIGHT. Between this moment and when I’m standing on stage with Drew is a complete blackout. I think I hugged my wife? I think i jumped up and down? I honestly have no recollection of this.

The wall turns and I see Now or Then. I know this game. I’ve seen it played tons of times. I do all the grocery shopping for my family, so I should be able to do OK at this. Before George even goes over the items, my eye is drawn to the Tonic Water. I buy seltzer water all the time, and the tonic water is right next to it, so I know that one for sure. 

I say “NOW” and I’m right. One done, two more and I’m $30,000 richer. I look at the two on either side, mouthwash and seasoning. I’m pretty confident about the mouthwash, so I go with that one. “NOW” I say, BAM. Two in a row. Im one price away from winning $30,000. It’s becoming real. 

I look to the next one, it’s cleaning solution for $3.99. NO WAY. No way that is today. Cleaning solution is expensive, so I call out THEN. Waiting for Drew to show the answer felt like an eternity. He lifts it and it says NOW. NOOOOOO. Ok, but I didn’t lose yet. 

I realize that regardless of what else I get, I’d need to get that seasoning to win. It says $2.49. I know that regardless of what the answer is, it’s close. My gut is telling me NOW, so I look to the audience and see my wife shrugging, and the various people I had met all saying NOW. The woman who previously won 20k is screaming NOW. I gotta go with my gut. NOW. I say, and then i hear the whole audience groan. I SWEAR I HEARD THEM ALL SAYING NOW. What the heck?!

Thats the other thing nobody can prepare you for. When the audience is “helping” it’s not much help. It’s just a mass of sound and you can’t make anything out of it. I would have sworn on my grave the entire audience was saying NOW. Apparently they weren’t. But who cares, my gut said NOW.

He flips it over….THEN. I hear that famous Price is Right loser music. In all honesty, I wasn’t that bummed in the moment. I had gotten to play my favorite game show, even though I lost. That experience is priceless. 

They bring the three of us up to spin and give us the quick rules: Use two hands, don’t lean forward, say your thank you’s quickly, no brand names, etc. They put us in order and I’m going second.

I spin again and I wait patiently for it to hit. COME ON .75. I see the wheel stop at .65. I have no idea why my brain froze, but for some reason I couldn’t do the math in my head. I knew it was good, but wasn’t sure how good. DUH. .90. 

As Stephanie is spinning I realize: OH MY GOD I MIGHT BE GOING TO THE SHOWCASE. She spins a second time and goes over. I look right to my wife and can’t believe it. This moment was the second blackout of the day. I have NO idea what I did. I remember being pulled backstage for the rules of the Showcase. 

I realize that I’m in the Showcase with Christopher, the guy who was next to me the whole morning in line. What are the chances?! I shake his hand and wish him luck.

The producer tells us some tips: Don’t think about the price right when it’s shown, listen and have fun! And don’t overbid. He mentioned that they had a lot of overbids recently, so be careful not to overbid. I’m then told that I’m going second. 

Once we’re brought out, I take a deep breath and get ready. They start showing the first showcase. It’s a 85 inch TV, a trip to Tokyo, and everything anyone on the Price is Right wants to hear: A BRAND NEW CAR. At this point I assume Christopher won’t pass the showcase to me. Once theres a car, the showcases really don’t get passed.

He didn’t pass it, but he puts in his bid, and I think it sounds pretty low. As long as I don’t give a terrible bid, I think I can win this…

They bring out the first item in my showcase, which is all about GREEN. They bring out my first item: $6,000 in cash. Can’t complain about that.

Then they say I’m going somewhere very green: IRELAND. I can barely hear the description with all the cheering, so Im pretty sure I asked Drew how many nights it was. He responded 6. I start doing some quick math in my head, but before I can finish, I hear this:

Your friends will be green with envy when you win a NEW BOAT. I live in an apartment building far from any lake BUT WHO CARES ITS A FREAKING BOAT. Before I can get too happy I think: Shoot. I have absolutely NO idea how much a boat costs. Literally no clue. I start adding everything up and my mind starts wondering. Could it be in the $40,000’s?! I look to the audience and see a bunch of 3’s being thrown up. Ok Brent, lower your bid. I look at my wife and see her giving 3 and 2 with her fingers. Alright, I got it: $32,500.

Longest commercial break ever. 

We come back from commercials and Drew starts with me. He tells the retail price and I'm only a little over $3k off. He goes over to Christopher and reads his price. Christopher was off by almost 20k, and the rest is an absolute blackout.

I remember what the producer said: "Shake Drew's hand and then go celebrate" I ran and saw my wife, hugged her and ran over and hugged the models. The moment every sick kid sitting at home dreams of had just come true for me.

This experience was absolutely priceless and I'm still in disbelief that it actually happened. I made so many new friends just from going on the show, and loved every second of it.

PS: Anyone in the market for a boat?

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