Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Wendy Herman was entering codes from her Monopoly Collect and Win Game tickets on the Tops Markets website when a thought struck her.
"I have plenty of other things I should be doing," Herman said to herself as she punched in the nine-digit codes.
Still, the mother of two kept entering the numbers to see if she could win something from the online portion of the game, besides the free bag of baby carrots she'd won earlier.
A few minutes later, she entered a code that triggered a big surprise: Herman was a $25,000 winner.
"I sat there looking at it and I wanted someone else to be there to tell me it was true," Herman said.
About a week later it was confirmed by Tops officials: Herman had won the top prize available in the online portion of the game, now in its fourth year.
"There's a verification process performed by an independent company that takes seven to 10 days," said Andy Brocato, Tops director of community relations.
For the uninitiated, the Monopoly Collect and Win Game offered by Tops Friendly Markets involves game tokens distributed to shoppers at the checkout counters. Each token features three game pieces that can be affixed to a Monopoly "board." Prizes are awarded to shoppers who collect all of one series of "streets," like in the Parker Brothers game.
Prizes range from free products to $20 cash to LED Smart-3D high definition televisions to $100,000 cash.
This year, Tops included a separate game piece featuring a unique nine-digit code that can be entered at www.topsmarkets.com to win other prizes, the top prize being $25,000.
For Herman, a court reporter for Jack W. Hunt & Associates in Buffalo, the win was a shock.