SYCAMORE – On a trip to California this summer, Komega Bass-Gutierrez and her husband, Jesse, broke the bank. Well, it was more like five banks after they became contestants on the game show “Let’s Make a Deal.”
Smashing piggy banks led to the Sycamore couple bringing home $3,000, which Komega said she’s going to invest in her own business.
The Gutierrezes planned in advance to go to the show while they were in California to celebrate their 10th anniversary, Komega said.
“It’s one of our favorite shows to watch,” she said.
She said the tickets were free, and they were able to pick from a set of dates the show was taping.
If you haven’t seen the show, its audience members dress in costumes. The Gutierrezes went as camp counselors, and Jesse’s outfit was complete with a 1980s headband.
During the taping, even during the commercial breaks, the producers always are watching the audience, trying to pick which ones will become the next contestants. Komega said they try to pick people who are having fun.
“It’s very hard not to have fun,” she said.
She described the audience as people dancing and singing and cheering for the contestants.
The Gutierrezes played the game Smash for Cash. Ten piggy banks were lined up on the stage, and the contestants chose which ones a stagehand would crush with a mallet. If the porcine remains contained cash, the Gutierrezes moved up the ladder of money, where they could win up to $20,000. However, if the smashed piggy contains a “zonk” card, and if they picked up two of them, the Gutierrezes would go home empty-handed.
The first piggy bank had cash, but not enough to hit the $1,000 mark. The next one got them a dreaded zonk card. At this point, host Wayne Brady offered the couple a deal: $200 to walk away.
“We have had people get two zonk cards in a row and they go home with nothing,” he said. But the couple rejected the deal.
Ultimately, they would smash five of the piggy banks. After they hit the $3,000 mark, Komega said they decided to take the money and go.
So what are they going to do with their winnings?
“We’re probably going to invest in a food truck,” she said. She works as a chef and currently rents out spaces in churches and other venues to cook, but has been saving for months to buy her own food truck.
“I would do it all again,” she said.