Can you show me your facial hair please?

Mr Angry has a story about his cabbie who is writing a book with a working title ‘How to win the lottery’, although he himself has never won the lottery.

This has confirmed my opinion that the Lottery is merely a tax on stupid people and those without a rudimentary understanding of mathematics or probability theory.

I have found lottery customers one of the most interesting things since I started working in a shop (there’s not much else to get excited about really). It’s not news that there are many people who play the lottery, but it never really sank in until I found myself on my very first shift — on a Saturday afternoon — where customer after customer came in and queued up for ages, for the sole reason to buy a lottery ticket.

I thought to myself, don’t these people realise that in the long run they will always lose out? I’m guess not many people are enticed by the big prize since there is something like a 1 in 14 million chance of winning. And it’s not just the fact that a ticket only costs £1 because I’ve served people who’ve bought about £40 worth of tickets at a time. Plus, there is the well-observed phenomenon of people winning a small amount on the lottery and spending all of their winnings on a scratchcard.

I don’t mind the people who play £1 per week or something. That is kind of reasonable. Anyway, that’s what my parents do (and my dad now reads this blog so I can’t slag off the lottery now). My parents made the mistake of having a regular set of numbers, so now they are stuck in that scary place where you just know that if you stopped playing, your numbers would appear the following week. For this reason, I’m amazed that Camelot ever introduced the concept of ‘Lucky Dip’.

The other thing about lottery players, which I never realised before I had to serve them, is the fact that the vast majority of them are old ladies. Beforehand I had just assumed that people of all backgrounds played the lottery. But nope, they are almost all at least 45.

This is particularly annoying because my till could hardly have made selling a lottery ticket more difficult, as it won’t let me do anything until I confirm that the customer is over 16. I don’t even need to ask them. I can tell by the impressive moustache. And that’s just the women.

One time this person wanted to buy a lottery ticket, and he was definitely young. But I could tell he probably wasn’t as young as 16. He had a good beard, although my beard was probably as good when I was 15. I would probably have sold this person a pair of scissors, or some superglue. But I was so shocked that he was buying a lottery ticket and wasn’t an old woman that I simply had to ask for ID.

He didn’t have any ID. Luckily for him, his friend (who had no facial hair but turned out to be 21) did. Mr Beard’s response was abusive: “For god’s sake, that’s fuckin’ ridiculous.” Yeah, doing my job — it’s just not on.

By this point, he was lucky he was only buying a lottery ticket. If this delinquent was trying to buy a pair of scissors I would have taken them off him. That was just an Asbo waiting to happen.

But I guess the moral of the story is: if they have a fine moustache, they are fine to play the lottery.

Update: Coincidentally, a post on about the lottery. [I’d better cover my back here] I doubt she has a moustache.


  1. For this reason, I’m amazed that Camelot ever introduced the concept of ‘Lucky Dip’.

    Actually I think they hit a half-good idea here – people would carry on using their old numbers in case they won, and could now select a new ‘lucky dip’ line of numbers on top, while keeping their old set just in case. Classic hedging of bets – you can try out new numbers in case your old ones are unlucky, and you don’t run the risk of the horror of “the one week I don’t use my usual numbers they come up”.

  2. Yeah, possibly. Actually, when I was writing that bit I wondered if the Lucky Dip perhaps was designed to entice people who had never played the lottery because were scared of choosing their own numbers for that reason.