We're experiencing a surge in games and gimmicks to lure the inflation-weary, recession-struck consumer into stores.It's hard to shop for food these days without finding yourself playing bingo or betting on horses; banks are once again resembling trading-stamp outlets instead fiduciary institutions; and fast-food restaurants are giving away anything on which they can adhere a scene from a space movie.
Despite this, there are still some types of establishments that have not yet joined the game-and-gimmick crowd. Here's a sampling of what we might expect in coming months: MOTELS. If your room number matches the winning number drawn in the lottery, you'll be permitted to check out two hours later than normal. BOOKSTORES. Fill in a coupon predicting the next week's best-seller list. Winners get to choose two free books from the lists -- one fiction, one nonfiction. DRUGSTORES. On each bag containing a prescription is a hidden poker hand, revealed by scraping the bag with a coin. If your prescription number is a better "hand" -- e.g., prescription 467479 contains a pair of sevens and a pair of fours -- you win $2 worth of merchandise. HOSPITALS. "Dollars-off" coupons will be distributed through newspaper Sunday supplements, good for a discount on selected operations. METRO. You get a free ride if, when you add up the list of figures on any Farecard that's been used at least eight times, the final two digits equal your age: (Addfares invalidate the card for game purposes.) VENDING MACHINES. Pre-1964 silver coins will be mixed in with the change in the machines. DENTISTS. Every 100th customer will get a gold filling at no extra charge. DOCTORS. If you guess your blood pressure, you get to see the doctor without waiting when you arrive for your next appointment. PSYCHIATRISTS. If your interpretation of an inkblot matches the doctor's interpretation (previously placed in a sealed envelope), you'll be allowed to make two Freudian slips without comment. LIQUOR STORES. Collect the tax stamps; they'll be redeemable for discounts on your favorite libation. CHINESE RESTAURANTS. Selected fortune cookies will contain "instant-winner" fortunes giving the diner 10 percent off the check. MOVIES. At each showing, free tickets are stuck with bubble gum to the bottom of several seats. BAKERIES. If your "take-a-number" stub matches your age -- verifiable by your driver's license -- you'll win a half-pound of cookies or a loaf of your favorite bread. CLOTHING STORES. Play bingo using the "inspected by" slips found in the pockets of most new clothing. BLOOD BANKS. Eight donors start giving blood at the same time. The first one to finish gets a two-ounce rebate.