My Local Grocery Store Has Made Me Their Bitch Via Their Thrilling Games of Chance

I like to spend my nights licking and sticking...little paper game pieces to a game board, hoping to win a dream vacation or a new car. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!

Dec 27, 2011 at 10:00am | Leave a comment

Growing up, I always felt embarrassed that my parents were super into playing the lottery. Even as a kid, it seemed like a waste of time and money to me and the fact that my birthdate was one of the series of numbers they played didn't flatter me at all.

Yeah, I know somebody has to win it...but the chance that we would be those somebodies was so ridiculously miniscule I didn't see the point of it all. I was also -- at least until I hit my punk phase -- very self-conscious about our social status (or lack thereof), and would have preferred if those lottery ticket dollars went directly into a fund to buy me Benetton sweaters to show off at school. I was a turd.

I'm still not into the idea of spending money on lottery tickets. The activity is sometimes called "Paying the Idiot Tax" and I pretty much agree with that assessment.

Growing up without a lot of money, I just don't see gambling (which is what the lottery essentially is) as fun. The concept gives me a stomach ache and makes me nervous. It seems wasteful.

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This makes it especially ironic that I have, much to my own confused embarrassment, become A LOTTERY-PLAYING FOOL!

Well, OK, not exactly. I'm not buying lottery tickets, but I have been indulging in a "game of chance" of sorts, and have grown stupidly fond of playing this "Wish Big, Win Big" game that's going on at one of my local grocery stores here in Los Angeles.

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It's a pretty typical sort of promotion, where every time you make a purchase you get a handful of adhesive game pieces (4 at a time, attached to an additional coupon of some sort) to rip up and adhere to your game board.

I still haven't figured out the formula they use to decide how many game pieces to give you each time you visit, but I've never left without a handful of at least 5. I would like to reach into the drawer and grab enough to fill my purse, though.

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The best thing, of course, is when your game piece includes a coupon netting you TWO MORE game pieces, no purchase necessary! I will never, ever use the coupons for condensed milk or bone-in ham steaks -- but YEAH, gimme gimme more game pieces!

Why am I saying the grocery store has "made me their bitch"? Mainly because I don't even normally shop at this store -- not on a regular basis, anyway. They don't have the best prices in my neighborhood (Albertsons is just okay, Vons is my usual jam), it's a tiny bit further away than my usual store...but I could win stuff! Right...?

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Guys, I don't know what has come over me; I've never played along with one of these chain store promotions before. It's almost certain that I'm wasting my time, but it's not like I'm being terribly inconvenienced by shopping at this store over my usual joint -- and I only plan to do it until the game ends on January 31. So I do have that on my side.

I know this is hardly a dangerous little hobby. It's not really comparable to playing the lottery, and I'm not online gambling or hitting the slot machines every night. But it does feel a bit weird, and not at all like me.

I tend toward pessimism (I prefer to think of it as "practicality") and don't usually enter contests. So why the hell has this particular game caught my attention?

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My idle thoughts that it would indeed be great to win a $10,000 tropical vacation (one of many prizes offered in this game) are fun, but I don't actually believe any of them...so why am I doing all this ripping, licking and sticking? I can only describe it as a compulsion.

Between this weird new habit and the passionate rhapsodies I've been breaking into about now much I'm looking forward to the new coat rack my husband and I just ordered (as he said, "I'm going to send your 16-year old self a tape of you creaming your jeans over a coatrack so she can laugh and laugh!") -- I think I might just be turning into my mother. (In my defense, it is a pretty great coat rack.)

What about you guys? Do you play games of chance? And if anyone local has a Reddi-Wip, Kraft Mozzarella, or Stove Top Stuffing game piece to spare, help a sister out -- we can swap!