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The Shark Bite Story

Ever notice that there are things that sound outlandish that may never happen to you. Somehow you seem to know of someone, or know someone who it really did happen to? This is what the Lottery Commission  relies on to get you to buy their products.

Have you been hit by lightning? My guess would be you haven’t but you most likely know someone (or of someone) who has. Does that make you not go out in a lightning storm, or wear rubber soled shoes all the time? Not likely (if you do my apologies, I am using this simply as an example). Being hit by lightning in this instance is a relatively rare event. This depends on where you live and your habits during storms and such.

Here Sharky Sharky

Have you been bitten by a shark? Living in Ottawa, it isn’t likely for me to know anyone who has, but I do know of someone who was nipped by a tiger shark. That does make me nervous about swimming in the ocean. This simple incident causes an irrational fear of the ocean, in me. Why? I saw Jaws the movie and I know it is “possible”.

Do you know anyone who has “Won the Big One” with the lottery? You know someone directly or indirectly who won a considerable amount of money in a lottery. I worked with a group of folks who won the really big one (that was then spread between 18 folks). The number of lottery tickets sold would drop considerably if no one ever heard of anyone who won. That information doesn’t seem to stop Publishers Clearinghouse from bugging me. The Lottery Commission spends a considerable amount of money to advertise its winners. They rely on word of mouth advertising too.

The arithmetic (or odds) of you knowing of someone who won the big one is not as long as you think. I had a stats prof explain it to me, but I don’t remember the exact equation, so I’ll leave the specifics out of it, but it still does not increase your odds of winning with a single (or group) of tickets, all it does is give you an inflated view of your chances of winning.

Just because I won the lottery (as an example), the chances of you winning are no better (and no worse), remember the chances in a pick 7 lottery that the series 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 is the same as any other sequence of 7  (but if that ever showed up as the “lucky numbers” the winnings might be quite low, because of splitting it among thousands of ticket buyers).

Lottery tickets want you to act on your “hunches”, and buy their products, don’t be fooled, your chances are the same.

Feel Free to Comment

  1. I’ve never been one to play the lottery but my grandmother used to play fairly regularly and she definitely subscribed to the lucky numbers theory.

    She never chose to get the automated tickets and would always fill out her number choices manually. I don’t blame her though, it was definitely more fun to do it that way. If you’re going to waste your money, you might as well have fun doing it!

  2. I once worked with a guy who had been hit by lightning. Twice. My dad also has told the story numerous times of when he was a kid, a lightning ball (basically lightning that is no longer anchored to the sky) travelled through their house. There was a hole in both the front and back screens.

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