Wednesday, November 28, 2012

POWER Ball: Investment or Burning Cash

My local gas station changed hands over the summer and became a CENEX. The new chain slowly added some changes like different options for getting your receipt and a video monitor that showed the weather and news headlines. A few weeks ago the video monitor opened and closed with ads for POWER Ball and the Minnesota Lottery with the news sandwiched in between. A new category was added to the "PAY" options buttons—Buy Lottery Ticket. Odd, I thought.

Last Sunday morning it all clicked. While filling up, a young man in his early 20s sauntered out of the convenience store part of the gas station. He was wearing a brand new Minnesota Lottery jacket complete with loons embroidered on the back panels. Guess what he was trying to sell me? A lottery ticket of course! CENEX must have a contract with Minnesota Lottery. He was putting on the hard sell. Now he was young so I was nice. I explained to him that I've never once in my life bought a lottery ticket, and I had no intention of starting now. Goodbye!

A lot of people must LOVE the lottery and the POWER Ball. They really get caught up in the fantasy of winning all of that money because "someone has to win so why not me!" That's great for them. I see buying lottery and POWER Ball tickets as throwing money down the toilet and flushing away. POWER Ball tickets are $2 each, and the pot is now up to $500 million.

Yes someone does have to win, but I won't win. I've only won two prizes in my life: a Civil War print that hangs nowhere in my house and a deck of cards for having the worst BINGO card on a 4-hour cruise across Lake Michigan aboard the USS Badger. Not a great track record.

If you love POWER Ball, get on out there and buy your tickets as the drawing is tonight. As for the local CENEX station and the Minnesota Lottery pushers, do you really have to do that? Maybe I need a bumper sticker that reads: "No Solicitors" so I can pump my gas in peace!

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