Currently I'm working as a grocery store Manager until I move back to California. One of the things I do is stand around and observe things. I don't know what, really, but I manage to look concerned and busy while doing it.
While standing around being busy and concerned, I watch people. That is, watch in the non-stalking way of course (unless Hayley Mills came to shop here, then I'd be all over her like a psychic on a rich widow). I watch because I am all about the customer service. One of the things you notice is just how much garbage people purchase to eat. I know I've been guilty of the same things, too. Since starting at the store I have changed my buying-habits now that my eyes have been opened a bit. I didn't realize how much oil, sugar and crap chemicals I consumed and fed my family until I saw it pass before me all day long. The other thing you get to recognize are the types of people who play the lottery, or as I call it, the Stupidity Tax. Now that is unkind, but I think it applies in 90% of the ticket purchases.
For some reason, people often feel the need to justify to us why they buy a lottery ticket. Like anyone really cares. A buck is a buck. Nobody gives a damn where you spend it as long as you spend it in the store somewhere.
Here are the types of personalities I have observed buying tickets...
Charitable: Buys a few tickets every week. Usually makes the comment that 'they could do some good for people if they win'. Riiiight, me too. If I win, the first thing I'll do is give some money to the homeless*.I'm in the Forced category by the way. I think buying a lottery ticket is equal to throwing money in the gutter, but if I don't get them my wife will. I just drop a buck on a random pick. She has an expensive system based on birthdays and instinct I try to keep reigned in.
Desperate: Also 'Needy'. Those people who are at the end of their rope financially and drop a few dollars (sometimes way too much they can't afford) on the chance they will make a few thousand. The Desperate are closely related to the next type of player.
Addicted: Also 'Greedy'. Compulsive player. In every day or so. Drops hundreds on the Instant Scratchers. Wins $500 and then puts it right back in the machine.
Office Pool: Come in with $40 or $50 bucks and play the office lottery pool numbers. The also play a few more of their own. They remind me of the guys who take a few bucks for a slot machine from a co-worker to play when they go to Vegas, and then comes back saying "Nope. You didn't win." Even if he did.
Embarrassed: "Hi....um...well...I guess I'll get a Lottery Quick Pick for Saturday. I don't know...somebody has to win...I guess...might as well be me."
Reluctant: Usually only plays when the prize is astronomical, because somebody has to win. It could be them. They are more honest than the Embarrassed types who are regular players. The Reluctant is also, I think, more prone to be crushingly dissapointed when they don't win since they will entertain the What If I Win? scenarios more strongly than the other serial players.
Forced: The customer that plays off the purchase like he is under orders. "My wife said get a ticket or else. Ok, I need a .50 straight, .50 box for midday and evening Monday through Friday, and give me a $1 combo straight/box with 7491, 8654 & 4366. And a $5 Mega for tonight and a $1 Lotto."
Grinder: Has a sure-fire system of numbers they always play on the lottery or the instant scratch cards. They would like you to believe they support themselves that way.
May-as-wells: The average player. Drops $2-5 a week because it doesn't hurt. Doesn't expect anything to happen but you never know. These are also the ones who are likely to never check a ticket. When you see an article about a jackpot not getting claimed, it is usually held by one of these.
* Like hell. Eat crap and die, all of you. It's mine. I'm rich! I'm a happy miser.