Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Cheap at Twice the Price

Christopher Burg (I read his blog every day and so should you) writes:

Anybody who isn't mathematically challenged knows that playing the Powerball is an exercise in throwing money away. The chances of winning are infinitesimal. You'd be better off putting the money for a ticket into buying a coffee at Starbucks since you at least receive something for your money then.

He's on his way to something else, but that's the part I wanted comment on (and I've blogged about it before). My comment as written at his blog:

You DO receive something for your money (above and beyond the infinitesimal chance of winning).

You receive the pleasure of THINKING about winning.

Where will you build your dream house? What places will you travel to that you never could before? How much will the first REALLY realistic sex robot cost and how many will you be able to afford?

The lottery's product is fantasy facilitation. That chance of winning may be infinitesimal, but it's a hook to hang dreams on.

Slight extension:

I don't know how much it costs to go to a movie around the country, but in my area a ticket is $12.50 and the food prices are equally outrageous. You're talking at least $20-25 per person by the time it's all said and done.

I can buy a Powerball ticket and serve popcorn and soda to my family of four, while we talk about what we'll do if we get rich, for five bucks or so. Taking them out to a movie, or an amusement park, or whatever would end up costing 20 times that, maybe more.

I don't do it often. But I do it occasionally (usually when the jackpot is more than $200 million; the bigger the jackpot, the more dream for your dollar, see?).

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