A Millennial’s Zero-Sum Take on the Lottery
Many consider luxury items like designer clothing to be a waste of money, but what about all that money you throw at the lotto?
Lottery tickets are dated.
Well… that’s not entirely true. Apparently about five million people buy a lottery ticket every day. But that’s five million people who I’ve never met, because none of my friends take any of that seriously.
A Millennial Take on the Lottery
“It’s such a waste of money!” Sarah exclaims in our group chat. We’re talking about her old boss at a Chinese restaurant she was a hostess at, who just won sixty thousand dollars in a lottery.
“But doesn’t that make you want to try? He just won a ton of money!”
“I would probably get the $1 free ticket if I ever win anything – it’s just not worth it.”
“Well, then what do you do with your petty cash?”
“Nordstrom shoes.” A more sound investment, it seems.
My friend Charlotte chimes in: “I did it once! I won $10! Well, I won five, and then got another and won $10 from that, but then got two more and lost both. Would’ve stayed with the original $5, but my dad made me go back. Classic jerk.”
That leaves 4,999,999 other people who bought a ticket that day – and the next day, and the day after that.
Now, I’ve never bought a ticket myself. I don’t really understand it, and I’m with Sarah – it seems like such a pointless pursuit.
Each day that I don’t buy a lottery ticket, I become 5, 10, or 20 dollars closer to my first pair of Manolos – now those are a sure thing.
Other Perspectives on the Lottery
But then, there are plenty of people who find splurging on those Manolos to be just as wasteful as simply throwing away money into a lottery pit.
So what is “wasted” money? Am I wasting money when I step into my first pair of Manolos? How do you put a monetary figure next to emotions like adrenaline and euphoria? Is it the same feeling that the other five million (minus one) people get when they throw a five-dollar bill on the counter for a ticket that promptly goes into their purse?
I wouldn’t really know. As I said, my friends and I aren’t really buying it – pun intended.
People have called us many names, both privately and publicly – lazy, wasteful, stupid… I can go on. And yet, we firmly refuse to drink this particular Kool-aid.
So what if I were to turn that millennial-centric argument back on the baby boomers, Gen Xers, and others who love the lottery? Each one of those five million lotto players will have spent hundreds – if not thousands – of dollars over the span of a decade. After getting continuously rejected, week after week, you’d think that they’d get the message loud and clear. True, our generation is rather more clued into signs of rejection; but these lottery hopefuls continue to indulge – the older they get, the stronger their hopes of winning.
When Charlotte’s dad encouraged her to buy another lottery ticket, he was living his own impossible dream through her. This is the same dad who, upon seeing an expensive Pandora bracelet on her wrist, asked her to return it.
The Bottom Line
We will always disagree on how we define waste. Overpriced shoes? I can feel them caressing my feet, and I can see the appreciative looks on my friends’ faces.
Lotto tickets? Out of style – a total, complete waste and a bad habit. That said, if you’re a millennial lotto-buyer (there are always exceptions), I welcome a rebuttal.