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No, You Didn’t Waste Your Money Buying Powerball Tickets

January 15, 2016

Some people think I’m perhaps a little harsh in my attitude toward the lottery. (You Didn’t Win, Lucky You!) It is true that your odds of winning the jackpot were zero. (Bill Gates And Mark Zuckerberg Will Give You The Powerball Lottery) But, I don’t think you wasted your money. Okay, maybe if you blew $1000 buying tickets, that’s a little excessive, but if you spent $2, $8, $20? It may have even been a good investment. 

We are a story loving species. Sales people know this.

Facts tell

Stories sell

I recently saw this meme attributed to Alan Rickman.


Some of the most important stories are the ones we tell ourselves. The need for stories is why we flock to the movies. A movie ticket will run you anywhere from $20 for an IMAX experience to $2.00 at a discount theater. What do you get for that $2 or $8 or $20 ticket? You get a couple of hours of suspended disbelief. You know it’s not real, you aren’t flying through space in the Millenium Falcon, or stuck on Mars with Matt Damon. Matt Damon’s not even stuck on Mars with Matt Damon. But, we allow ourselves to dream for a couple hours. And we are willing to pay for the privilege. Eventually, the story ends, the lights come up and we have to go back to reality of work, kids and the responsibility of our bills. But, for those couple of hours, we were Jedi, or astronauts, or insanely rich.

And that is exactly why buying a Powerball ticket isn’t a waste of time. For your $2 or $8 or $20 you got more than just a couple of hours. For days, you could suspend your disbelief and imagine what life would be like if you had immense wealth. You knew that you weren’t going to win. Just like you knew that Matt Damon wasn’t really on Mars. But, there was no harm in enjoying the fantasy for a few days. Eventually, the story ended, the numbers came up and they weren’t yours and you had to go back to the reality of work, kids and the responsibility of your bills. But for a few days, you were someone else; someone who didn’t have money worries. Someone who was insanely rich. 

It was a really good movie, and you were the star. And that’s worth a lot.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday at 7:00 AM Mountain Time. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

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