Correction Appended: The caption of this photo misidentified Jeremy Posner as Richard Posner.
Over Winter Break, Engineering freshman Jeremy Posner won $40 worth of anti-itch cream. He also won a ceiling fan, which his dad said is “too ugly to put in the house,” and $12,500 in cash. And he got it all by playing Plinko with Bob Barker.
Posner fulfilled his lifelong dream by competing on the CBS game show The Price is Right while in Pasadena over the break. The episode will air on Feb. 9 at 11 a.m.
Contestants on the 33-year-old game show compete to win money and prizes by guessing the prices of household items like jelly, golf clubs and microwaves.
“This was the highlight of my life,” Posner said. “My dad told me I have six months to get a new goal in life – and this time it couldn’t be stupid.”
Posner, who confessed to sometimes faking sick in high school to watch The Price is Right, nearly didn’t make it onto the show.
After getting in line at 5:30 a.m. wearing a handwritten “Bob is Great” t-shirt, he was told he was the 35th standby.
“I was upset,” he said. “The people in the front of the line had been sleeping there since 10:30 the night before.”
After breakfast and a quick trip to a nearby farmer’s market, Posner’s luck turned. An entire tourist group had not shown up. He was in.
Despite what it seems like on television, contestants aren’t chosen randomly from the audience. Posner had to wait in line again for contestant interviews. Under the intense pressure and anticipation, hopeful contestants quizzed each other on pricing strategies.
“Six-cylinder Mustang,” Posner asked a fellow audience member.
“My Dad didn’t know there were so many crazy fans,” Posner said. “He thought I was more alone in the world.”
His interview went well, but when the first four contestants were called from the audience, Posner wasn’t among them.
After the end of the first round, though, the announcer’s deep voice came through the loudspeaker like the voice of God and said those five heavenly words: “Jeremy Posner, come on down.”
Posner jumped out of his seat and bolted onto the stage.
“By the time they finished my name, I was already on contestant’s row,” he said. “I don’t think the camera had time to find me.”
It was time for the hours of taped shows and skipped days of school spent watching to pay off.
After a winning bid on a ceiling fan, he was in. He was on. He was standing right next to Bob. He was hyperventilating.
“The stagehands thought I was going to pass out,” he said.
He kept his composure. It was harder when Barker said he would be playing Plinko, the Holy Grail for Price is Right fans.
Posner correctly priced all of his items: a weather radio, an English muffin toaster, a roadside work kit and a teapot. He dropped his chips into the famed board and heard the familiar plink, plink, plink that gives the game its name. That’s when he won the $12,500.
He won $12,500.
Posner’s luck failed him while spinning the big wheel, but he felt lucky enough already.
“I can sleep well at night,” he said. “Because the only reason I lost was luck.”
Posner said he will put the money toward a car and dinner with his girlfriend at the Gandy Dancer in Ann Arbor.
And just as Barker requests at the end of each episode, Posner’s dog is neutered, he said.