The Idiot Tax
Are you playing the Mega Millions tonight for your chance at a cool $640 million? This is apparently a jackpot for the record books. It’s ironic that the same reason why this jackpot has grown so large is because the overwhelming odds are stacked against the players? In the last year of record for lottery ticket sales in the United States (2006), state lotteries posted more than $53 billion in annual ticket sales.
The Jackpot odds are 1 in 176 million for tonight’s drawing; so if you have $176 million dollars you could buy every combination of numbers and walk away with your lump sum of $347 million at a profit. So why wouldn’t you do this? Well then my friends you run the risk of another person winning as well, and there goes all your money. Besides, try buying 176 million of anything; How many gas stations would you need to visit, where would you keep all the tickets secure, and what are the odds you would be able to find that winning ticket in your haystack? Please don’t play the lottery without first admitting that you enjoy paying taxes. This is why the lottery is called an idiot tax. You voluntarily pay a tax that goes to fund state and local governments for an insignificant chance at winning some unfathomable amount of money. I assume everyone knows this and yet people still buy the tickets and this is where the discussion begins.
It got me thinking about our services and what we sell and it should make you do the same. The odds that we can help companies sell more are great, and we market that. Still, not everyone will buy our service despite the overwhelming odds that it will help their organization. It might be a stretch to compare the lottery to a complex B2B transaction, but the lottery shows us something interesting. What are the people who are buying tickets actually thinking when they overlook the odds?
Small Price to Pay
Well the first response I am likely to get is “It’s only $1 to play, why are you calling me an idiot?” The buyer sees little risk in relation to their income at this amount and probably feels closer to winning than they probably should. Sure relatively speaking a dollar is a quarter of a gallon of gas. Most of us wouldn’t know a dollar was gone, yet most of us wouldn’t light a dollar bill on fire either. That’s why the ticket is only a dollar, plenty of research saying that’s the tipping point.
Go big or go home
Greed exists everywhere. If someone didn’t play the lottery when it was a million dollars, it doesn’t make sense that the same person would play now. A million dollars isn’t enough for you? I don’t know if I can call it greed, if it’s simply a tax donation. So let’s call them greedy lottery philanthropists. Everyone wants to be a part of something big; whether they are sitting in front of a TV cheering on a sports team thousands of miles away, or winning the biggest lottery of all time. This is the cinematic effect where you are part of the greatest story ever told.
What would you do if you won?
This might be the most fun part of the buying experience. What is your world going to look like when you win? Everybody has spent that money already, in their mind. What do people want to buy? They want to buy more stories. They will by a five-story house, a storied baseball franchise, a historic work of art, Selling To Zebras…The Untold Story. The more stories the better!
Wow what if you could sell like the lottery ticket? All the promise, hope and fortune for such a small price. Keep in mind when you’re selling that we all want the story. We don’t want your story we want to believe our story is going somewhere better.
No, I’m not playing the lottery; my story is going somewhere else as I write it. The only way to guarantee a win with the lottery is to purchase a house and experience the great lottery tax credit. With this record pot, next year is shaping up to be the biggest lottery credit ever. Looking forward to it!