It’s not often I win the lottery. I’ve never won more than £7.20 (oh that was a heady day, let me tell you), so every time I do win something I’m keen to actually get my money from the local newsagents.
Last Friday on the Euromillions I checked my ticket and discovered that I had won a whopping £2.50 – huzzah! The next day I merrily skipped towards the corner shop to claim my winnings and reinvest in some more lotto action but alas, as I approached the counter I sensed the man by the till was eyeballing me suspiciously. He had spotted that I had not picked up a newspaper or a chocolate bar; that I was not here to give him some of my hard-earned cash. Instead he sensed that I was here for profit, to take money away from him.
As I finally reached the counter having negotiated my way past a gaggle of children fighting over one-penny sweets, I fished out my winning ticket and held it up for the shopkeeper to see.
“I’d like to cash in my winnings please,” I said.
“Machine not working,” he said sharply.
I looked at him curiously. I did not believe him. But how to test if this man is lying, I thought?
“In that case I would like to give you some money for a new lottery ticket,” I suggested.
“Is that for tonight or Wednesday?” he replied.
AHA! SO YOUR MACHINE WORKS WHEN IT NEEDS TO PRODUCE TICKETS AND GIVE YOU MONEY, BUT NOT WHEN I HAVE WON THE LOTTERY AND AM TAKING MONEY AWAY! A HA!
This is what I should have said. After all, I had proved my point. The shopkeeper just did not want to go to the hassle of claiming back money from Lottery Headquarters. His machine worked alright, I knew this. I should have said “A ha” in a knowing fashion and shown him up to be the fraud he was. But I didn’t. I gave him another couple of quid and went on my merry way, fresh ticket in hand.
And I didn’t win.