Something Stinks

Byline_BrendanLast year I wrote on how I would no longer spend my valuable time trying to come up with new ideas for New Hampshire lottery tickets.
After having some success in the 1990s by giving them the idea for the now legendary “Pot Holes and Frost Heaves” ticket, I continued to wrack my brain for years in developing even new and better scratch ticket themes that they could use to get people to waste their money on them.
I was basically ignored when I gave them, free of charge, such great tickets ideas like The Town Meeting and the Presidential Primary tickets. They never used either of these or any of my other great ideas. So, after years of trying to be a good citizen in helping the state, I decided to stop.
Leaving them to their own defenses they have come up with nothing but clever duds over the years. This year they are at it again in what just might be the cleverest dud of all.
It’s the scratch ticket that smells like bacon after you scratch it.
I’m serious.
Maybe this sounded like a great idea when it was developed by some kid fresh out of college with a degree in scratch ticket design, but it is an idea that reeks of problems in the long run. I would imagine it might eventually cost the state more than the revenue it brings in.
The first thing that comes to mind it that it sets up for a bunch of scenarios for lawsuits against the state and, if not the state, the convenience store that sells the tickets.
Say, for example, someone buys a bunch of these new scratch tickets and brings them home. Maybe after scratching a few, the person finally reveals a significant winner. In their excitement, they ignore the rest of the losing tickets and high tail it down to the store to collect their prize. In their haste, their dog, attracted to the extremely tempting smell of bacon, devours the remaining scratch tickets and becomes ill causing the dog’s owner, just coming down from his short-lived euphoria, to rush the dog to the vets to be saved. The whole thing eventually costing the owner much more than he might ever actually win in scratch tickets over the course of his lifetime.
To compensate for his own carelessness, the dog owner now has no choice, according to his lawyer, than to sue the state, the convenience store owner, the store cashier and the scratch ticket manufacturer for tens of millions of dollars.
It wouldn’t be pretty.
There is also the public relations nightmare which will ensue with the introduction of scratch tickets that smell like bacon.
PETA, of course, will demand that it stop, holding protests outside of the lottery commission offices.
Then there will be the outrage from the vegans who will want their own scratch ticket. (I would suggest one that smells like broccoli which has been in an airtight container for a few days but they won’t listen to me.) Then there is the religious groups that don’t eat pork, they would insist on their own scratch ticket smell.
Eventually, so many different groups would have to be appeased that the convenience store would soon become an olfactory nightmare and business would go down as customers stayed away causing scratch ticket sales to decrease and the state finding another budget shortfall.
Of course, the taxpayers have to ante up for this new idea. The lottery commission is already aggressively marketing the new bacon smelling scratch ticket with a truck that is going around with people handing out free bacon strips. That’s got to cost something.
I’d imagine that right now someone is hard at work (9-4, Monday through Friday with two breaks, a lunch hour and holidays off) coming up with a clever phrase utilizing the state’s mandated boilerplate of “Live Free and Something” to promote the ticket. Odds are that “Live Free and Scratch” and “Live Free and Sniff” are in the running.
So, there is a lot the state should have considered before putting this new scratch ticket on the market. It seems that just like all of their past work it has been a rush to judgment and they shouldn’t be shocked if any of the scenarios I mentioned become realities.
Maybe next time they’ll use one of my ideas.

Brendan Smith welcomes your comments at brendan@weirs.com

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