March 24, 2014
What I Learned from Buying 100 $1 Scratch Tickets
Over two years ago, I won $100 on a single $1 scratch ticket. It happened on August 19, 2011. I just spent the last ten minutes searching through old status updates I made on facebook that year and amidst some very stale jokes, I found the update.
Since then, I've spent dozens of dollars trying to find another winning ticket. A ticket where I got back 10,000% of what I spent. Years of searching and I came up with an ultimatum. I would buy 100 of these scratch tickets for $1 each and if I didn't win, I would quit forever. If I did win, I would buy the new Metal Gear Solid video game or something.
I started saving up scratchies in 2013, while I was sober. I didn't drink at all that year and to tempt myself even further, I bought scratch tickets and didn't scratch them. I would buy two tickets at a time so that I wouldn't feel like I was wasting too much money. Also I wanted to get different kinds of scratch tickets to make it a bit more interesting. The temptation to scratch them was high, but I was determined and made it to the end of the year with 38 unscratched $1 scratch tickets. I bought 62 more after I did my taxes to get an even 100. The 7-11 employee tried finding out why I was buying so many $1 scratch tickets. "Why are you buying so many?" he asked. "Mind your own f*%$ing business!" I snapped at him. I wasn't in the mood.
Notice the smile on my face. Before I started, there was a potential for me to win $10,000. Each one of these scratchies could be worth $100 (or much more). I could retire and buy that flying car I always wanted. Seriously though I just wanted to know if I would make a profit or a loss at the end of it.
About one-third of the way through, I started to get bored. I hadn't bought a wide enough variety of scratchies and scratching the same ones over and over was boring the hell out of me. It reminded me of how you are supposed to deal with your kid if you catch them smoking cigarettes. You make them smoke the entire pack. This could also work with gambling addict losers. Make them scratch 100 of the same $1 scratch tickets. It was Sunday night and I started the work week the next morning so I was really disappointed at how boring this Sunday night activity was.
I was almost done and things were not looking good. If you look closely, you can see me pouting. This was half for the dramatic photo and half because I really did think I might have won it big that night. But luck appeared to be on the Massachusetts State Lottery Commission's side. Screw you, luck.
The last ticket. I went back to smiling because it would be so perfect if this were in fact the golden ticket. I scratched it and of course it was another loser. Time to count my winnings!
$80 total, divided as seen above. Below the tickets are my unlucky quarter, the plate I scratched them on so I didn't make a mess, the losing lottery tickets, and the marker I used to make the cards with the dollar amounts.
This is the biggest losing ticket. Stay away from "Holiday Cash!" Not only did I lose the most from it, but it was the most boring ticket to scratch.
This is the biggest winning ticket. If you are going to buy a $1 scratch ticket, buy "$12,000 Jackpot." I think that's the name of it. I won over $40 with these tickets and spent much less than that.
So what did I learn from all of this? What was the point? Well, to be honest, I thought I was going to win at least $150. Seeing as I only won $80 and had a total net loss of $20, the point must be that gamblers are losers. Don't waste your money. More importantly, scratch tickets make shitty birthday presents. That is all.