Wednesday 29 July 2009

Went to the newsagent today. I’d already bought the thank you cards to send to my Perthian house-hosts (found a bright chirpy card and to save me the bother of finding another one and on deciding which house-host gets which, I just two of them) and wanted to include a token of gratitude in the form of a scratchie or a raffle ticket or something like that; Boys Town entry, that sort of thing. So, I went to the newsagent today to buy two lotto tickets.

“Hello,” said the woman behind the specially designed counter. Her complexion sparkled in the reflection of the metallic finished row of scratchies that separated her from me.

“Hi,” I replied. “Can you tell me is Oz Lotto a national lotto?” She tore off the top sheet from a pad and handed it across. The sheet listed the cost of each entry and the amounts of each division. At the very bottom, in an unassuming box, was advice on where to go if you think that gambling was a problem. Across the top, though, was the sentence: Oz Lotto is a national lotto. So that sounded promising. I went back to the counter.

“It says here that Oz Lotto is a national lotto. Do you know if that means if I was to send to this somewhere else in Australia, like Perth, that they can use it?” The woman replied that that was correct.

“Ok then,” I said happily, “How much is a standard ticket?”

“Well,” she said pointing at the table on the sheet, “You can get just one box or up to 24.”

“Yes but what’s a standard sheet?” It’s been a long time since I’ve bought a lotto ticket but I do remember that there was a typical sized sheet that you could order, eight or twelve boxes, something like that.

“Well,” the woman said again, “You can buy just one box but most people buy a sheet of 24 ‘cos that best improves their chances.”

“That’s good, but what’s a standard sheet?” I asked again.

“Well,” she said a third time, “You can buy one box or a sheet of 24.”

“Just give me two sheets of 24,” I eventually said with a sigh.

She asked me to come around to another counter so I could enter my Eftpos details. I hand over my card for her to swipe and I type in my password. A few moments later the woman hands over my card and two lotto sheets, then tears off the receipt.

“Oh,” the woman now says passing me my receipt, “They won’t be able to check them anywhere else in Australia, you know, ‘cos each lotto machine in each state is different. But I suppose they could check the numbers online. Good luck.”

With a grimace, and fighting the urge to punch her irritatingly sniffy little nose, I crawled out the store and back to work.


PS: I never got around to sending the tickets. Good thing in the long run – neither of them won anything. I posted book vouchers instead.