'Price is right' for one Laurel city employee

Jeffrey Alexander had a simple strategy when he appeared on the TV game show "The Price is Right" this week: bid a dollar. And that's it.

"I just kept saying, $1, over and over," Alexander said. "And everyone else over bid."

His simple approach paid off. Alexander, 59, who works in Laurel's Department of Parks and Recreation, appeared on the game show Monday, April 15, after taping his episode in February in Los Angeles. Alexander walked away with nearly $10,000 in prizes, including four camcorders, a computer with built-in printer, a steam shower with a hands-free telephone, a folding bicycle and $1,700 worth of Coach handbags.

"My wife was happy about that," said Alexander, of Hyattsville.

Alexander and his wife, Sharon, were planning on traveling to Los Angeles for their ninth anniversary, and she asked him if he wanted to be on a game show. Sure, he responded, and Sharon Alexander went online and printed tickets for "The Price is Right." The couple got a guarantee that they would be in the audience, but that was it.

"They interview everyone, to see who they want to get on stage," Jeffrey Alexander said. "The first question they asked me was 'How're you doing?' So I broke into the Ray Lewis dance, and they seemed to like it."

When Alexander's name was called to "come on down," he did former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis' dance all the way down the aisle.

Once he was out of the audience and behind the podium to compete to get on stage, Alexander did exactly what he planned: he kept on bidding a dollar. On the show, the person closest to the actual price of an object gets to go on stage to compete to appear in the final showcase.

"I told Drew (Carey, the show's host) I'd been practicing all week to say '$1,' " Alexander said.

It was a plan that resonated with the audience; while waiting in line to get into the studio, Alexander kept calling out his "$1" mantra over and over, and his fellow audience members loved it.

"They were so much in favor of me winning," he said. "Everybody out there knew me from hollering in line, and they all thought it was hilarious I won on just $1."

Alexander got onto the stage after having the closest bid on a set of camcorders, and then had to match a set of prices to a set of products. When he mastered that, he moved on to spin the wheel, but fell short in his shot at entering the final showcase — he had 75 cents after his spin of the wheel, and another contestant beat him with 85 cents.

Alexander said he didn't do any preparation for the show, but was "only focused on trying to win."

"I didn't get nervous," he said. "Getting nervous wasn't going to help me. I was just excited."

Alexander said he grew up loving the show during the days of former host Bob Barker.

"I always wanted to be on it," he said. "I always wanted to be able to stand up and give a shout out to my city."

He did just that on the show, when he acknowledged Laurel, and the Parks and Recreation Department.

"In a way, I felt like a celebrity," he said. "People were watching the show and congratulating me on a fine job representing myself, and the city of Laurel. I'm very proud to represent the city. This place means a lot to me."

Alexander is the second person with local ties to appear on a game show in less than a week. Thursday, April 11, Laurel resident Diane Mezzanotte appeared on "Jeopardy," taking home the second-place prize of $2,000.

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