Mixing Some Fun Into the Business Trip: Crystal Mathews and "The Price is Right"

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A business trip to a trade show can be grueling with long days, a whole lot of walking and little time for real fun. While there are often social activities at a trade show, these usually involve a little small talk and much more shop talk, so when there is a chance to get a little "me time" on the road, it can certainly be a welcome break.

For Crystal Mathews, vice president of Solid Start and True Brand Products of Lakeland, Florida, a trip out west for a conference last spring was truly the right mix of business and pleasure. She and her business partner, Amber Kossak, along with their mothers, spent a day in the audience of the long running game show "The Price is Right." Not only did they get to watch the high-energy show, but they also heard the words, "Crystal Mathews come on down, you're the next contestant on the 'Price is Right.'"

Mathews, who admitted to having watched the show since she was five years old, said it was a great way to cap off the weeklong Jiffy Lube trade show and to unwind with her friend and their moms.

"It was on my mom's 'bucket list' to see the show and be in the audience, and we got to meet Drew Carey," Mathews said. "It was on a Sunday, and we were there for six hours. But, it was fun, and time flew by."

While it was Mathews and not her mother who was called down, everyone was ecstatic that one of them made it that far.

"No one knows who is going to be called to be a contestant, but everyone in the audience has a chance," Mathews explained while revealing the selection process. "It begins with you filling out paperwork and getting your iconic yellow name tag and contestant number. They take your photograph in front of a green screen, and that is when you can show off your energy."

Somber and demure contestants aren't what the producers are looking for, in other words. Instead, those who show a lot of energy and are having fun are more likely to be called upon.

"The next step was with Stan Blits, who has been selecting contestants for 35 years," Mathews said. "He literally lines up everyone and asks a ton of questions, and it is clear he is looking for people who are energetic."

Mathews may have impressed Blits when she told him that riding dirt bikes was amongst her hobbies.

"He said, 'maybe you'll win a dirt bike,' and his assistant took note of that. We were all so happy that one of us made it," explained Mathews, who began her career in the automotive industry in 2000 when she started working in the production warehouse doing everything from packaging to driving forklifts to quality control.

Mathews was called down as a contestant, for which she won $300; and while she didn't make it to the stage, it was still quite an experience.

"I got to bid three times, and, honestly, I think the second time I had a good chance," she added. "I also got one-on-one time with Drew Carey. We talked about our additive products, and then I when I got back to the warehouse, I sent him some products for his vehicle. He signed a photo and sent it back to me thanking us."

Thus, even with pleasure, Mathews saw a potential to mix in a little business and to promote the brand.

About the only regret for Mathews from the "Price is Right" experience is that she didn't have an opportunity to give a shout-out during the show.

"If I had gotten on stage and had the opportunity to spin the wheel, I was planning to say, 'Thank you to all of our True Brand Customers,' and that's the only thing I was disappointed about," she admitted.

"It was an absolute blast. The audience was electric from start to finish, and everyone was excited even if they didn't get picked," Mathews said. "I highly recommend going if you ever get the opportunity and are in the Los Angeles area. The tickets are free online, and the entire experience was a blast."

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