For four months during the summer of 2008, they recorded The Price Is Right every morning and watched it together in bed every night, Terry hunting for patterns and Linda doing the math. It didn't take long for them to find their edge. In The Price Is Right's greatest strength, he and Linda also found its greatest weakness: It had survived all those years because it seemed never to change. Even when Drew Carey replaced Bob Barker — the show's own version of Vatican II — he rocked a similar skinny microphone. Behind all the screaming and seeming chaos, there was a precise and nostalgic order. Terry says he first sat upright in bed when a distinctive grill called the Big Green Egg came up for bid again and again. It was always $1,175.
When Kneiss was ready, he got a ticket the show and became a contestant. And with his knowledge of how the games worked, he kept on winning until the end:
Then came Terry. "You bid $23,743," Carey said through his teeth.
Today, at his kitchen table, Terry says he'd seen all three prizes before. The karaoke machine was $1,000. The pool table, depending on the model, he says, went for between $2,800 and $3,200. Terry went with $3,000. The rule of thumb for campers, he knew, was about $1,000 a foot, plus a little more; he says today he'd actually misheard the length of the trailer, thought Rich Fields had said it was nineteen feet long — so, $19,000. That gave him $23,000. And then, he says, he got lucky. He picked 743 because that was the number he and Linda had used for their PINs, their securitycodes, their bets: their wedding date, the seventh of April, and her birth month, March. Here's their wedding certificate, he says, and here's her passport: $23,743.
"Actual retail price, $23,743," Carey said. "You got it right on the nose. You win both Showcases."
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