Shaffer, who works part-time as a Wal-Mart greeter, has hit the airwaves with an infomercial to promote her two videos that detail her winning secrets. The videos, each costing $19.95, are short. Together, they run 40 minutes. And, truth be told, the secrets don't sound so earth-shattering: Follow the directions on entry forms. Penmanship counts. Enter often, using the names of every relative and friend you have in the world. Always include your ZIP code. Do anything to make your entry eye-catching. A favorite trick of Shaffer's is to soak entry blanks in colored water, making them bright and stiff when they dry out and increasing the chances they'll be drawn. "The bottom line is, I do anything I can to make my entry or myself stand out and be noticed," she says.
That includes sending letters and copies of her video to television producers and other media. David Letterman and the Today show have declined, but she's heard encouraging words from Oprah, Donny and Marie, and Roseanne. She's written out talking points on a manila envelope to help her through phone interviews. "It makes life fun, let me tell you," she says. "I do radio interviews every morning from as far away as New Zealand. I'm in my nightgown, 6 o'clock in the morning, and they call me, especially when it's on the East Coast. It's kind of hard to wake up early in the morning and sound enthusiastic and not have sleep in your voice. I gargle. I talk to my cat. I sing, "La, la, la.' People ask me when I do these radio interviews every morning, "Why are you giving away all your secrets?' For one thing, there's so many contests out there I can't hit them all.
Carol "Lady Luck" Shaffer in a sequined dress she got at Neiman Marcus when she won a $10,000 shopping spree at Plaza Frontenac five years ago: "The bottom line is, I do anything I can to make my entry or myself stand out and be noticed."