Letters: Defending the lottery, concert etiquette

Marketplace Staff Oct 8, 2010

Letters: Defending the lottery, concert etiquette

Marketplace Staff Oct 8, 2010


Tess Vigeland: Letters, email, Facebook posts — hey, even the phone — we love hearing from you. And to hear from you even more, our mail lady is here: Deb Clark, who moonlights as our senior producer. Hi Deb. And you’re here with me again to sift through all of it. What have you got this week?

Deborah Clark: O.K., Tess, as you know one of the most popular questions we get asked here on this show is…

Vigeland: How can I strike it rich so I never have to work another day in my life?

Clark: Well, there is that — if only we knew — but no, I was thinking about how to pay for college.

Vigeland: Oh you mean all the questions you send in on behalf of yourself?

Clark: Oh no, well I do have two kids and haven’t started yet.

Vigeland: Oh they’re still young.

Clark: That’s true. Anyway, Amy Scott did a piece for us last week looking at why some people choose not to save for college. And one comment pointed out how expensive it is to go to college these days, and said you sort of owe it to your kids to help them graduate without tons of debt.

Vigeland: Especially since there aren’t any jobs to pay down that debt.

Clark: Yeah. But Tracie Ewing from Indianapolis said her family couldn’t afford to save for college because they made the choice to have her stay home with the kids. It meant six years out of the work force — not so great for her career and of course not great at all for saving for college — but she thought it was worth it.

Tracie Ewing: I looked at it more as it was giving them an advantage simply from having me there and knowing that I was the one who was forming the way that they would think and the way that would approach things when they started school, and it wasn’t someone else who was teaching them how they should behave.

Vigeland: Definitely one of those topics where there could just be endless debate. Feel free to continue that on our Facebook page. All right, what else got people going?

Clark: Also on last week’s program, we did that little piece about the guy who won the lottery twice in Missouri, within about three months.

Vigeland: Yeah, so not fair. Of course, as I pointed out, a lot of people have called these state lotteries ‘a tax on fools.’

Clark: Why yes they have. I have to confess I was a wee bit surprised to see how many of our listeners were in strong defense of buying lottery tickets. I read one especially good argument from a guy here in California: he said he buys about three tickets a month. “I figure,” he said, “I’ll never miss the dollar, but I’ll certainly notice if I win a million bucks.”

Vigeland: Especially when they give you a check that’s taller than you.

Clark: Yep, ‘course we also heard from Tori Dunbar from Wilkes-Barre, Penn. She works in a chain grocery store and said that lottery tickets are probably their biggest-selling item. And she’s noticed that even the smallest win gets people excited, even if they’ve spent a lot of money getting there.

Tori Dunbar: A fellow the other day came in with a lottery ticket and I noticed that he had spent $28, and I ran it through the machine and I said, ‘O.K. you got $3.’ And he was thrilled, not realizing that he was still down $25 on that one ticket.

Vigeland: I think this is where we say: what were you thinking?

Clark: Yeah, good question. Finally, Tess, I know how much you love to sing on the show.

Vigeland: And you know how much everyone loves it when I do. Would you like an encore?

Clark: Uh, thanks. But um, no. But we did recently get our friend Ron Lieber from the New York Times to sing.

Vigeland: Yes, he was quite up in arms about all the people who attend concerts with him who can’t stop chatting into their phones and chatting with their friends.

Clark: Yeah, quite a few people wrote in to essentially call Ron a killjoy.

Vigeland: Aw.

Clark: Yeah, he did have some supporters, though, including Nilay Shah of Baltimore, who remembered a concert-going experience of his own:

Nilay Shah: The band was about 30 minutes into their set when the lead singer just stops. He lets the reverb play out, so it takes a couple seconds before the room is silent — expect one guy, basically yelling into his cell phone. The singer is giving him the most vicious look I’ve ever seen. The man stops and is dumbstruck. The singer asks, “Are you done, then? Good — then get off the f-ing phone.”

Vigeland: Oh people, language — this is a family show!

Clark: And that’s all she wrote.

Vigeland: Thanks Deb. Keep your comments coming — go to Facebook, or go to our webpage.

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