17 June 2009

Gas Station Annoyance #2

Yesterday, I yammered on about the annoyance of trying to find a parking place at a gas station in the first of my

Top Five Gas Station Annoyances

2. Lottery Tickets

I am sometimes accused of being as gullible as most normal persons, but I just cannot buy into (or buy at all) lottery tickets. This has to do with a lot of reasons, but I will only deal with (a couple or one) today.

If you have gone to a gas station recently (and I am pretty sure most of them are the same as I have visited gas stations in more than two counties in my lifetime, thus making me an expert), you will have seen lottery paraphernalia prominently taking up most of the space on the cashier counter such that you cannot see the cashiers texting to their friends about random people they see in the security monitor and placing bets on who will be the next sucker to buy a lottery ticket.

Covering the front counter, windows, doors, refrigerators, newspaper racks, toilet seats, and the cashiers' faces are advertisements asking you--pleading with you--to play the newest Scratch 3 game. "You'll have fun," the ads say. "The State Lottery benefits schools, old people, and small pets," they promise. "The chances of winning are 1 in 72,523,144," very small type around the size of a molecule of cytoplasm indicates. The ads are hard to ignore.

Even harder to ignore is the ocean liner-sized lottery machine on the counter that replaces the part of the store where you were originally able to (and I may be showing my age here) put the stuff you were going to buy on the counter. (Reflecting on yesterday's blog, this may be part of the reason it takes people so long to get their money ready, having only two hands and all.) The large computer has two main functions: it (1) allows the cashier to input your numbers or to randomly generate similar nonwinning numbers, and (2) dispenses the ticket. For some reason the computer must be of the type used during World War II, perhaps for security.

The main problem I have with the lottery stuff in the gas station is that, no matter how many people are waiting, it takes 4-1/2 hours to process one ticket. Ok, maybe I am exaggerating a little. But, the two minute transaction to buy my soda instead required a nap and a bathroom break for everyone else in the line while Fred McTicketbuyer slowly and meticulously chose his numbers, paid with change (which is what I'm sure was all that was left over from his paycheck...but more on this for another topic), bought a good sized handful of instant win tickets, slowly and meticulously scratched off the spots, then cashed those in for another Super Lotto ticket.

I wonder why these things cannot be automated? Why take up a cashier's much needed time and attention to sell me my pop when the process of lottery ticket buying takes no more effort than paying at the pump? I mean, if you can pump your own gas, you should be able to waste your money directly and of your own power without troubling the gas station staff or other customers.

In fact, I think I will invent a Self-Utilizable Customer Cash Expending Renovator (SUCCER). All you have to do is insert your cash, change, check, credit card, debit card, food stamps, insurance policy, or coin collection, just like you would at a vending machine or ATM. There will be a teeth-shattering grinding sound as the machine converts the currency into a fine dust. In return, you will receive a card that says "Thank you for wasting your money playing the Lottery SUCCER," and "Odds of winning are best in the lottery world: 1 in 1 will win a card just like this!"

Of course, the fine dust is just for show. I would actually be in the machine taking the money. I wouldn't have anything else to do: I still haven't been able to buy my soda.

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