A swell of applause and a few whistles were given to freshman Wendy Bonete as she completed a rap about Pocahontas, McDonald’s and giraffes to win a bingo tie-breaking challenge. Bonete collected her bag of Hornbacher’s groceries and went back to her bingo card.
Last Thursday was another rousing night of grocery bingo, a successful event brought to campus by Campus Entertainment Commission. Grocery bingo is a chance to win a free bag of groceries with a bingo. Along with classic bingo rules, postage stamp and blackout, CEC has added the signature “Cobber C,” meaning to win, the pattern on the outside edges of the bingo card is in the shape of a C.
Sophomore CEC member Mollie Lackmann was pleased with the turnout.
“Grocery bingo is usually our most successful event,” she said. “In the past, it has become so crowded that we have had to turn people away for fire safety codes.”
CEC members purchase groceries at Hornbacher’s using sustainable and reusable bags. Inside are foods such as fruit snacks, apples, Oreos and other popular dorm room snacks.
CEC tries to pick groceries that college students will enjoy and have a relatively long shelf-life. Groceries are a big expense for many students and are sometimes impractical with minimum refrigeration space and meal plans. Snacks can be healthy as they help fuel the body between meals and make for a great study break.
Sophomore Katrina Schneider came to grocery bingo with a group of friends who have attended the event multiple times in the past. The group hoped to win some snacks.
“Mountain Dew and Doritos are two things we like having around the dorm room,” she said as her roommate nodded in agreement.
Often during grocery bingo, it is not enough to solely get a bingo. When two or more students win, a tie-breaking competition follows to determine who gets the bag of groceries. Popular tiebreakers include corn-themed joke competitions and dance-offs. These competitions are settled through cheers. The victor with the most applause gets a bag of groceries. At one point in the evening, there was a seven-way tie, where only one of the seven winners walked away with a bag of groceries, making grocery bingo a combination of luck and skill.
Sometimes, it pays to be lucky. Junior Heather Zinda has won grocery bingo five times.
“I pretty much win every time I come,” she said. Her tip to bingo players is to sit close to the caller in case the tie-breaking competition calls for a race.
“As a college kid, grocery bingo is super exciting because if you win, your prize lasts for a few days, which makes for an on-going celebration,” Zinda said.