OSU student uses math to snag video game console

2013-11-30T07:45:00Z OSU student uses math to snag video game consoleBy Anthony Rimel, Corvallis Gazette-Times Corvallis Gazette Times

Earlier this month Oregon State University sophomore Jeff Walters bought 458 liters of Mountain Dew — a large amount, considering that he doesn’t drink soda. He also bought 95 bags of Doritos. The purchases were part of his calculated plan to win an Xbox One game console. Walters spent $452.27 on soda and chips. Result: he won the Xbox and a game that together retail for $560.

Walters, an electrical and computer engineering student at OSU, is minoring in mathematics. He heard about the contest on Saturday, Nov. 16, and began to research how it worked.

Unlike many promotional contests, the “Every 2 Minutes” giveaway is an auction in which people enter promotional codes from products that are assigned different point values. They then can use those points to bid on prizes; the person who bids the most points wins.

According to Walters, he and roommate Jacy Barr, a fellow engineering student, then began to research prices of products at area stores and track how many points they were worth on a spreadsheet.

“We found the best price-per-point ratio,” he said.

Walters said their solution involved taking advantage of bonus points given for entering a bag of Doritos code at the same time as a code from a Mountain Dew.

According to Walters, they bought out the stock of Mountain Dew at the Wal-mart stores in Corvallis and Albany on Sunday, Nov. 17. Then, after the stores restocked the next day, they went back and bought out both stores again.

He won an auction on his second attempt with a bid of 44,001 points.

The website for the contest lists the average winning bid. Walters said that when he started his plan to win the Xbox, the average winning bid was 38,000 points — and increasing.

“I knew if we hit it fast, we would win,” he said.

As of Wednesday, the website for the contest listed the average winning bid at more than 42,000 points.

Walters, who tutors math at OSU, said he liked the challenge of getting the most bang for his buck.

“It was a lot of fun,” he said.

What will Walters do with all the soda and chips he had to buy for the contest? He plans to give them away to friends and to hand them out on the streets.

Barr documented the adventure in a photo blog, which is available at http://imgur.com/a/AEsIa.

Anthony Rimel covers K-12 education. He can be reached at 541-758-9526 or anthony.rimel@lee.net.

Copyright 2015 Corvallis Gazette Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(2) Comments

  1. janemccoy
    Report Abuse
    janemccoy - December 31, 2013 3:23 am
    That really would have been a great fun. Only, maths tutor could have think such an idea. Savings doesn't matter, but a win does. learning center
  2. Fill
    Report Abuse
    Fill - November 30, 2013 2:38 pm
    Good for them, although that's a lot of work for a $100 savings on a gamble.
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