The scene: Me at the grocery store, standing in front of the vending machine that sells lottery tickets.
The time: 6:35 on a Saturday evening.
The action: I fumble around in my wallet for some cash to feed into the thing. The Powerball jackpot's gotten up into the high eight figures, and so it's time for me to play. I know it's late, but I figure the drawing isn't for 25 minutes or so, and I still have time, if I hustle.
Dang, I only have a $1 bill and some $20s. These bandits don't make change, and it ain't worth a $20, and so I resign myself to betting only a dollar. "If I win on only a buck," I'm thinking, "I'll feel really, really, really lucky."
In goes the dollar. I look up at the screen and see that I have a $2 credit. Wait a minute. I guess the person before me must have left a dollar in there ungambled. Anyway, I push the buttons for two $1 wagers. The thing starts screeching as it prints out the little slip on its old dot matrix thingie. I pull it out to look at my numbers.
Hey, this isn't a lottery ticket! It's a slip that says "Powerball - void" on it! I look back up at the screen. "Draw break," it says, meaning that it's too close to the time of the drawing, I guess. "For refund slip, press 'yes.'"
I press "yes." Out comes a refund slip. "Must be redeemed today at customer service at this store -- $2.00."
I walk right over. There's nobody at customer service but two clerks. I collect my two bucks -- a winnah! -- a 100 percent return on investment. Then it's off to the produce section.
Miles run year to date: 119
At this date last year: 21
Total run in 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269