Tuesday, 8 January 2013

I’m not a huge fan of daytime TV.  I prefer the radio when I’m at home as I find it less intrusive – I just have it on in the background while I’m working and tune in and out at will.

But, I did have the television on today whilst eating my lunch and I have to report that the adverts they show at lunchtime are DIRE.  This is a selection of what’s shown – payday loans, PPI claims, a couple of holiday ones (because it’s January and we’re all depressed), diets (ditto), have you been injured ambulance chaser types, lots and lots of bingo and gambling sites, and lottery ads.

Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but there was a time when phrases such as ‘The Health Lottery’ and the ‘Postcode Lottery’ were bad things, and referred to your chances of getting treatment on the NHS for various complaints depending on where you lived.

But now their meaning has been skewed to be positive, and we have a jolly Welshman shouting about the joys of the Postcode Lottery and various winners of the Health Lottery boasting about what they’ve bought with their winnings – ‘I bought my Mum a mobility scooter’ being my current favourite.

I don’t often buy a lottery ticket – occasionally when it’s a huge rollover I’ve given into temptation – because I know the odds of winning are miniscule.  I’m no mathematician (or Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory) but even I know I’m more likely to be struck by lightning than win a jackpot.  So why, oh why, do we carry on buying into this idea that we could win?  What is it about the human psyche that encourages us to waste at least a pound a week on something that we probably know we have very little chance of winning?

It’s perhaps because we all know people who have won something – even locally there was the team of bus drivers in Corby who won the EuroMillions jackpot for example.  And that’s the reason I think people carry on doing it.  If you’re in a syndicate at work, you don’t want to be the only one left if your colleagues win big.  Or at least, that’s the reason I’ve paid in to work groups in the past!  Can you imagine how awful you’d feel if your workmates won millions and they’re driving Aston Martins and sipping Champagne (not at the same time, obviously, as that would be illegal and dangerous) while you’re still sitting there doing the same job, and possibly theirs as well!!

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