As of last count, the Mega Millions jackpot is at $540 million. Finally, a lotto worth playing. An article from the Boston Herald reports that one convenience store is selling tickets at the rate of 10 per person. This is a clear indication that the astute lotto players are coming out to play a lotto that's finally worth some real money.
In the article, one man says that if he wins he will donate $130 million to "needy families, single parents that are homeless and anyone with kids. I would also take my family to Disney World, and I’d give the employee that sold me the ticket a $2 million tip." I appreciate the man's sentiment, but what are those people going to do with only $130 million?
Likewise, the tip is a nice gesture, but frankly I've found that no amount of tipping is going to encourage consistency in the lottery ticket selling business. In other service industries, better service generally results in better tipping which in turn reinforces the incentive to provide great service. Lotto ticket sellers are a different breed, seemingly selling winning tickets at random. Personally, I would advise all winners to withhold tips until some motivated individuals establish themselves as quality ticket sellers.
Another article in the Kansas City Star proclaims "Mega Millions ticket buyers feeling lucky". This is unfortunate as it increases the chances of a split. If the high luck factor results in just a single split, you can only count on $270 million if you win . . . and that's pre-tax. Thanks, but no thanks.
That's really all there is to say at this point, however as a final note I wanted to pass along an insightful thought from a woman who was quoted in the Star article: “I feel like somebody is going to win,” she said. “If not, it will go up even higher. Then it will be a real frenzy.” That is so true. Sometimes in life a certain thing will happen, but other times a different thing will happen.
I think she's right about the possible frenzy, too. If this thing passes the $750 million mark I will strongly consider buying a ticket. If, however, anyone wins the jackpot before that point - congrats, at least it's something.