A little an hour ago I was walking back from the supermarket, a shopping bag clasped in each hand. One might expect that my thoughts would have been focused on the city’s forthcoming sporting extravaganza; perhaps even the Danny Boyle inspired opening ceremony, merely hours away; but they were not. Like the greying sky above me my mood was a sombre one; the reason my seemingly ever growing dependence on National Lottery scratch cards.
It had all started so brightly some months previous with my first purchase, a £2 Diamond 7 that had revealed £10. The act of punching the air with delight and jumping up and down jubilantly seems but a distant memory now.
Since that day scratch card purchases have become a daily occurrence, at first it was merely one a day then two and today that has escalated to a variety of different games played at intervals through each and every day. Recognising the stupidity of this exercise I had promised myself yesterday that this growing irrational dependency based around ever diminishing returns had to cease. After all what better time could there be to stop than the start of the Olympics with its promise of excitement, far in excess of that likely offered by National Lottery scratch cards instant gratification. However as I approached the till assuredly to pay for my food items, I noticed a man stacking a roll of £1 scratch cards into a display case, the cards an abundance of inviting iridescent colour. I was unfamiliar with this particular game and I stared transfixed at this new prospect of salvation with a top prize of £100k.
Deciding to make an exception to my no scratch card resolution on this one occasion, I purchase fifteen of them plus an additional two Diamond 7’s for good luck. On arriving home I hastily scratch the cards, desperately pleading for a halt to my recent ill fortune (Last 17 games with no win). Predictably none of the scratch cards reveal a prize. I rip them into pieces and throw them in the bin. There is an increasing suspicion that the promised odds which vary depending on the game from 1 in 4.46 to 1 in 4.9 cannot possibly be valid. Despite this recent run of bad luck I cannot diminish the sense of excitement that these games provided in the early days, the suspense and promise of redemption in an increasingly predictable existence.
Picture two is of a scratched Diamond 7 card with a £2 prize (c.f. Bottom row, one 7 & 2 diamonds). It was apparent from the beginning of this exercise in futility that diamonds are not only a girl’s best friend. I will miss this game the most.