"I lost to a pot," Ms Wong Yoke Meng, 45, said when she learnt that she did not win The Straits Times- GSS Fantasy Shopping challenge last Friday.
The senior human resources and administrative executive at Ricoh Singapore surmised that she did not ace the challenge as she had not picked a seven-piece stainless steel pot set from WMF, a German cookware brand.
Instead, it was Ms Fiona Aerielle Packer who did. The 25-year-old winner had chosen the set of pots, which was originally priced at $1,153, but was discounted by 75.8 per cent for a saving of $874.
Ms Packer, a presenter at River Safari, says: "I just took whatever had the biggest discount and I remembered the best deal were the WMF pots."
Three contestants were given $1,000 each to spend within 30 minutes and had to chalk up the highest discount savings to win.
Including the pots, Ms Packer chose a total of seven items and saved $1,785.40. As the winner, she took home all the items, including a handbag and scarf.
Ms Packer had the highest discount savings at 64.71 per cent. Ms Wong saved 51.69 per cent, while the third contestant, Mr Liew Kai Liang, 50, a technical executive at Nanyang Technogical University, saved 33.4 per cent.
Ms Wong and Mr Liew had received a 2 per cent and 10 per cent discount penalty respectively for spending more than $1,000.
Mr Richard Leow, 61, department manager for Metro The Centrepoint, said he was impressed by the contestants' knowledge of the store's products.
He adds: "As this is the Great Singapore Sale, we want to show that shopping in Metro is exciting with great savings."
All three contestants visited Metro at The Centrepoint a day before the challenge to do their legwork and scout for the items they wanted.
The shopping competition was organised by The Straits Times in partnership with department store Metro and was held at its branch at The Centrepoint last Friday.
When the contest started at 10.15am, the trio did not make a mad dash around the six-level store as expected. Instead, they were calm and collected, taking purposeful strides around the store, guided by their lists written on paper or stored on their phones.
The only running occurred in the final five minutes - Ms Packer's phone alarm went off, signalling that it was time to wrap up her spree.
"I was not expecting to win," says Ms Packer after the announcement of the results. "I thought I was receiving the $200 voucher when my name was announced and I was thinking of what cosmetics to buy."
Meanwhile, Ms Wong could not hide her disappointment. The mother of one had hoped to win a Happycall frying pan for her sister- in-law.
She says: "I saw the WMF pot set, but it was bulky. I will not purposely grab something that I don't need - the stainless steel pots are too heavy for me. I feel disappointed that I missed that out, but the most important thing is that I had fun." She received a $200 shopping voucher for her efforts.
Mr Liew, who is married with no children, was not disappointed as he too received a $200 shopping voucher. He adds: "I had fun. I have participated in contests before, like lucky draws, but this is the first time I got to actively take part in something."
Although Ms Packer admitted that the items she won were not what she wanted, she said she would share part of her haul - two jars of honey - with her mother. As for the pots?
Not a problem. She says: "I cook a lot, so I think I can put them to good use."