Glen Burnie's Dana Zadia Hardy certainly has a way with a buck.
The 37-year-old project manager, whose penny-pinching ways earned her a spot recently on "Extreme Couponing," appeared Wednesday on another money show, "The Price Is Right."
A longtime fan of the game show, Hardy and some blogging friends who work with her at MsCouponista.com, made a point to drive from Las Vegas to California earlier this year see if they could get on.
Hardy did -- and she didn't have to wait ... at all. She was called to "come on down" right as the show opened, bouncing happily into the first contestant spot in front.
The first item to bid on -- an Apple desktop computer. Hardy, asked to guess the price first, tried "$1,800."
Unfortunately, it was "$1,736." The guy next to her, a Navy man, headed to the stage to play Punch Bunch with host Drew Carey.
Next up was an elliptical machine. Hardy bid last this time -- trying $1,800 again. The price was $2,499. "Dana, come on up here," Carey said.
Hardy screamed and bounced, high-fiving the audience members just behind her. When she got on stage, Carey asked her where she was from. "I'm from Marylaaaand," she warbled, doing her best Oprah.
And then out rolled what any game show contestant hopes to see. A "Brand New Car!" In this case, a cherry red Chevrolet Volt. More screaming. Much more bouncing.
To get the car, Hardy would have to master Lucky Seven, a game where she had to guess four numbers in the price of the car -- they gave her the first, which was "1." They also gave her seven one-dollar bills. Each wrong guess in the price of the car would cost her bills. She had to have at least a dollar left at the end to win the Chevy.
She guessed seven for the second number. It was six. She lost $1.
She guessed five next. It was two. She paid $3.
Next she tried five. It was four. She had $2 left and only one to spend.
"You have a $16,000 bet here," Carey told her.
"I have to go with my lucky number, which is nine," she told him.
It was nine. Hardy won. She screamed, squeezing her eyes shut and bouncing so hard, her hair shook loose from its ponytail. She got behind the wheel, yelling "I won! I won!"
But that would be all she'd take home from "The Price Is Right." Hardy's luck ran out as she spun the wheel to get a spot on the showcase showdown.
So look for Hardy cruising the Beltway in that red Chevy. She'll be the one filling up at the most economical gas station.
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