By Sue Murphy
I was picking up Easter goodies for my grandchildren and came across basket-sized boxes of teeny tiny fairies and action figures. The problem was, the teeny tiny question mark on each box indicated that you couldn’t be sure of which figure you would get.
This kind of uncertainty isn’t good for a 4-year-old. It isn’t good for their grandma, either. “Here you go, my love. This may or may not be what you wanted.” Not going to do it.
Let me give you a grown-up example: “Give us your mortgage money and you may get the house of your dreams. On the other hand, you may get the house next door. Good luck.” Who would do that?
Some people enjoy the thrill of the “maybe,” but when I pay money for something, I like to get what I paid for.
Oh sure, I will buy chances in a charity raffle (which is technically a donation) but I don’t expect to go home with the bass boat. In fact, I am hoping I don’t win because then I would have to buy a trailer and haul the boat to the lake and learn how to drive it and maintain it and all that. For me, not winning the bass boat is the prize. I pay my money and I take my chances, and if you have to be present to win, I don’t show up.
If you really wanted the bass boat, however, it would be a different story. Even if you bought every raffle ticket but one, there would still be a chance your “donation” would be gone and your trailer would be empty. Buying raffle tickets is not the best way to get a bass boat. Everybody knows that.
Even if you did win the bass boat, you’d have to pay taxes on it as if you had bought it, so there’s more money out the door. I stopped signing up for the HGTV Dream Home Giveaway because, in the end, I figured it would just mess up my tax bracket.
See what I’m saying? Even when you get something for nothing, it’s going to cost you.
Maybe it’s not something for nothing you’re looking for, just something for a little. Where my sister lives, in small-town Illinois, they are now allowing slot machines in the gas stations. You can get 10 gallons of gas (which you pay for) then plunk a roll of quarters into a machine on the chance of winning a jackpot. Most likely, you will not win the jackpot, but at least you get to keep the gas; I think. I didn’t check.
I guess some people simply enjoy putting quarters in the slot machines. Maybe there’s entertainment value there, but to me, it couldn’t be much. You’re not hovering over a roulette table in Monte Carlo. You’re hunched over the Slim Jim rack off Route 34 in Plano.
It seems to me that this chance taking business is usually set up by people who already have jackpots and are trying to pay for them with someone else’s money. They take your quarters and don’t necessarily give you anything in return, which is good work if you can get it, I guess.
You pay your money and you take your chances. Or maybe you don’t. All I can tell you is that if I pay for a teeny tiny pink fairy, I’m going to consider myself cheated if I get the purple one. Nope. Not going to play. I’ll just take my quarters and go home. ❖