Sunday, December 8, 2019

Scratch Offs: The gift you hope never starts giving

Many years ago, Norm MacDonald in a stand-up routine pointed out that giving scratch off tickets as presents makes zero sense because there are only two possible outcomes, both of them really bad:

A.  They don't pay out, in which case the recipient remembers that you gave them expensive pieces of cardboard as an expression of friendship/appreciation.  In other words, you gave them....nothing.

B.  They pay out, in which case the gift-giver spends the rest of their life with the knowledge that they held financial security- maybe even luxury- in their hands for a few minutes, and just...gave it the kid who shovels the walk, or the mailman, or your kids' teacher....whoever it was, you didn't mean to give them a $10 million dollar Christmas present now, did you? Not when you're worried about paying for your kids' college (the guy who got the scratch-off ticket? He's not worried about that, or anything else.)

In short, you want the recipient to appreciate the gift, but ultimately, you don't want it to amount to much of anything.  Heck, even a $50 or $100 payout is probably a lot more than you wanted to just give anyone not directly related to you (and frankly, I wouldn't want someone directly related to me to cash in that big at my expense.)

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