Why You Really Shouldn’t Pool Lottery Tickets With Your Friends
Let’s not forget the timeless lessons of that 2003 Friends episode, “The One with the Lottery.”
This may be old news to you, but in case you’ve completely avoided all media outlets for the last week or so, you should know that there’s a hefty lottery jackpot out there—$1.6 billion, to be exact, in a world-record Mega Millions jackpot. The jackpot has gotten larger since the October 19 drawing, when the prize was a near-record $900 million and no winning numbers were drawn.
With a huge jackpot up for grabs (in theory, at least, the odds of winning are one in 302 million, according to CNN), you may be talking with friends, family members, or coworkers about pooling money to buy a huge stack of tickets to increase your odds of winning just a little bit, promising to split any winnings evenly.
Maybe don’t do that, though.
It’s widely believed that money—even the potential of winning a lot of money—changes people. Or have we all forgotten the lessons of iconic Friends episode “The One with the Lottery”? In the episode, the friends each put a chunk of cash toward buying lottery tickets, and they commit to splitting any money they win. Things don’t turn out as expected, though, as Monica gets caught hiding extra tickets and the group bickers over how they’d divide the money.
If Joey, Chandler, Monica, Ross, Rachel, and Phoebe can’t stay friends while talking about sharing money (even before they actually won a penny), what hope does an average friendship or coworker-ship have? The TV characters remain friends after the debacle, of course, but the memories of the money that might have been and the self-serving natures that emerged (cough Monica cough) might have haunted them.
Yes, the odds of winning are so unlikely that it’s probably nothing you need to worry about, but if even the thought of splitting an enormous jackpot like this one puts stress on you and your relationships, you may be better off buying a ticket (or a few) on your own. (It’s only $2 per ticket, after all.) As Phoebe says, “What’s more important, your friends or money?”
The next drawing for the winning lottery numbers will take place tonight at 11 pm EST.