Sunday, February 13, 2005

More Taxes, please

A tax for those who cannot do mathematics.

Or, as some like to call them: lottery tickets.

I've never been a big fan of them, but when I was younger (but still of legal age) I would "play" Sports Action. To me, this lottery actually required some knowledge and skill to go along with the luck factor. I could bet on the outcomes of three to six games. If I was correct: big money! If I was wrong: I was out at least two bucks (usually I didn't bet any more than that).
It was even more fun when a group of guys got together. We'd all chip in a couple of bucks, pick one game each we thought was a sure-thing, and then harpoon the guy who picked incorrectly.
"I told you not to bet on the Sharks! They're terrible!"
And way-back-when, the Sharks were terrible.
"But they are giving 3:1 odds! How could I resist?"

James Lileks weighs in here, and sums it up nicely. One could theoretically have more fun just lighting your money on fire. My hatred for "scratch 'n win" lottery tickets runs exceedingly deep. I have vowed never to give them out as Christmas presents, and upon receiving them I gripe bitterly for a solid minute... before scratching like a fiend and cursing aloud at the rigged system of false hope.

I used to work at a 7-Eleven.

Before the reality situates itself and I am reminded of how much of my life I wast... errr... spend gainfully employed by the Southland Corporation, let me proceed with my thought. As am employee of 7-Eleven, I had the dubious honour of selling these scratchy little nuggets to all sorts of folks. Normally, it was only a mild annoyance, but occasionally serving lottery "customers" turned into an intensely frustrating experience.
"I'll take two of these" *pause for a moment*
"That'll be two dollars, please."
"Oh, and one of these..." *pause for a moment*
"Alright... four dollars please."
"And... one of these too, and this one... and can I see that one for a sec?"
"*Sigh* Yes... yes of course... will that be all then?"
"Yes that's all"

*two minutes later,same customer*

"Could I have one of those as well?"
"NO! No, you may not! Get lost and stop holding up the line! Can't you see how infantile your pathetic addiction truly is? Look at all these people waiting to get served. GET LOST!"

Oh, uh, sorry 'bout that. Went a little off the deep end there... hypothetical situation, after all. Never really happened that way... where was I again? Oh yes.

At Christmas time, these occurances were magnified a hundred-fold. The British Columbia Lottery Corporation must lick it's chops everytime Christmas comes around. They sell millions of dollars worth of scratch and lose tickets during the week leading up to December 25th. I know. I've seen it. And it drove me crazy.

People should be able to spend their money on whatever they want. But I cannot fathom why people would want to spend so much of it on those stupid scratch tickets.

(Stanley Cup Ring to Nicolas)