Riverhead woman Annette Houghton didn't even realize she'd entered a prize draw when she picked up a large pack of the luxury toilet paper brand Paseo from New World Albany in August. The news that she was the winner of a $12,000 spree at Michael Hill Jeweller Albany, courtesy of Paseo manufacturer Cottonsoft, came in a slightly low-key fashion - she first picked up a voicemail message on her phone asking her to call New World because she'd won a prize.
As Mrs Houghton tells it, "I thought maybe I'd won a shopping voucher. When they told me what the prize was, I was astounded. It's something that you'd never think you would win, and I was blown away."
Mrs Houghton says she'd never before won a large prize, and the closest her family had come to a big sweep was the $1,000 shopping mall prize her daughter won a few years ago.
She plans to take her two daughters and her daughter-in-law along with her to Michael Hill Jewellery Albany to each select a special item: "It's too lovely a prize not to share, and jewellery is the kind of item that you don't just go out and buy for yourself, so I'm hoping everyone can pick something they like."
The purchase that reaped the surprise prize was her favourite brand of toilet paper, Mrs Houghton says, which she buys for home and the solicitor's firm where she works "because it's the nicest. I just swiped my Flybuys card going through the checkout, and that was how I entered the draw."
Cottonsoft country manager Kim Calvert says it is fitting the prize went to a loyal customer. "Annette has told us that she is accustomed to the Paseo brand and always buys it, so we're happy that luck determined that she was the person to get the reward on this occasion. It is a big prize and one we hope she will enjoy for many years."