Round and round we go. All reasonable explanations have been presented in this thread, most multiple times. I'm sure by season 41 the actual explanation will come out of hibernation. It will probably even be explained on one of the "official" Price web locations. Maybe we should all just rest for the summer on this topic.
Worst case scenario... no consolation prize whatsoever. Is that so bad? After all, the whole point of getting up in the middle of the night and standing in line on the sidewalk at Beverly and Fairfax is to hear the words "Joe Schmoe, COME ON DOWN!". Isn't that consolation enough? It sure as heck would be for me. I've gone through the routine ten times but never been so fortunate to actually "come on down".
Being on The Price Is Right, even as a contestant row loser, would be far more valuable in the context of my life experiences than a $300 check or a $700 area rug.
Moral of the story: If I ever hear the words "come on down" attached to my name, and do end up a "loser", I won't care if there is or isn't any consolation prize to take home. The right to tell anyone I know or meet in the future "I was on The Price Is Right" will be my consolation prize for the rest of my life.
That is an ice breaker in any situation.