Saturday, December 24, 2011

Giving scratch tickets as Christmas gifts is asking for trouble...

Some years ago a coworker gave me a couple of scratch tickets for an office Christmas gift. At first I was surprised because I didn't expect to get anything from her. Not that I didn't like her or thought she wasn't cool, in fact she was very cool, I just didn't expect to get a gift from her. After the heartwarming surprise wore off, I then felt that anticipation you get when gambling at any level. Scratching the numbers, I imagined winning and doing all kinds of things with the 20k grand prize. Bills paid, debts resolved, world travel, high class call girls

And just that fast it was over. No win, no money, no bills paid, no high class hookers. Nothin'. I had that little emotional crash you have when you don't hit the number your playing and tossed the tickets in the trash. Then a few minutes later it hit me.

That was a cheap fucking gift! That was nothing! That was a two minute high with a 10 minute low that took me on an emotional roller-coaster ride to Shitsville!

Bruce got scratch tickets for Xmas too...
What kind of gift is that? A gift is supposed to make you feel good and add something to your life. Even if its a practical gift (which is no fun) it still adds something your life. A sweater, potholders, undershirts and socks are not fun gifts but they're still useful, Scratch tickets don't add anything unless you win and the odds are heavily against you on that. Which is another shitty aspect of the "gift". Name another gift that has a probability factor not in your favor? Don't worry, I'll wait...

Imagine getting the greatest most exciting video game for a gift. But the hitch is you have to guess the correct number combination to unlock the game. Not unlock secret levels, no, to play the game period you have to guess the right numbers. Oh, and you only have one shot at it and chances are you won't guess the right numbers. Now you see just how fucked up a thing that is to give to someone, right...

Now you may be saying, yeah but Nic, she didn't have to give you anything in the first place. True, but if she hadn't my day wouldn't have changed at all. I wouldn't have gone on that emotional trip and gotten my hopes up just to have it all come crashing down in the span of a few seconds.

The other aspect of why it's a crappy gift is what if you win big? Some scratch/lottery tickets have incremental prizes leading to the grand prize. So its possible to win anywhere from two bucks to two million. So if you hit for say 20 dollars, it's a nice thing. Not great but nice and the person who gave you the ticket wouldn't expect anything in return. That "glad you won but I don't expect anything back" attitude is probably good for up to a couple hundred bucks. But if you hit the grand prize and win thousands or hundred of thousands then you best believe the person who bought the ticket for you will be expecting you to break them off something for it. But you're not obligated to give them anything.

No, really, you're not. But before you know it the hurt feelings and lawsuits start flying and you've made an enemy for life all because you messed up and beat the odds. But the chance of that happening is 120,000 to 1. And that's what the gift giver is secretly banking on. Because anyone in their right mind would be pissed to find out they gave away a winning ticket they could have easily played themselves.

So if you ever get scratch tickets for a gift, holiday or otherwise, realize that the person who gave it too you is doing so banking on your failure...the bastards. And if by any chance you actually happen to win do NOT share the big prize with them because that'll teach the douche-bags to play with your emotions in such a cavalier manner.



  1. and so we learned from this story that it isn't the thought that counts but the gift!

    Merry christmas ho ho ho

  2. She should have used the 4 quarters it took to buy you the tix and went to the dollars store and bought you some socks. Somehow I feel you wouldn't like that either.