Mega Millions: 'It gives people permission to fantasize'
Abbas Moussawi stood behind a counter of glass hookahs at G and R Smoke in Manhattan Beach, pondering what he would do if one of the 20 lottery tickets he plans on buying hits the Mega Millions jackpot.
“I’m going to buy a house in Bel-Air,” the Lebanese immigrant said. “But 80% of it is going to the poor all over the world. I’m not greedy, man. I’d be more than happy with 20%."
At a nearby 7-Eleven, where a steady stream of customers were lined up, Devinder Chandha said he was selling 10 times more lottery tickets than usual.
“By 6 o’clock, it will be 20 times,” he said.
One of those customers was Ron Glick, 45, a psychologist, who bought three Mega Millions tickets. He had never bought a lottery ticket and had to ask the clerk how to fill out the form.
“It gives people permission to fantasize,” he said. “It’s a statistical possibility that you can be a half a billionaire. It’s all about the dream.”
Lawyer Gene Sullivan bought 10 tickets for his office and another 10 for his family. He knows the odds of winning are slighter than slight, but he bought them anyway “because somebody always wins, and I could be as lucky as that guy. Where else can you buy a ticket to be one of the richest people in the world?”
What’s he going to do with the money if he wins?
“Whatever I want,” he said, tickets in his left hand, a bottle of Coke in his right.
“First of all, I will not be going back to work.”
“Not be a lawyer any more,” she said.
At Coast Liquor on Pacific Coast Highway in Hermosa Beach, owner Harry Bhogal said lottery sales were up about 40%. But the surge in customers hasn’t helped business. Most customers are coming in just to get in on Mega Millions craze.
“Out of 10, maybe one will buy a drink or cigarettes,” he said. Meanwhile, his usual customers are stuck in line behind the would-be millionaires.
The possibilities are not lost on Bhogal, though. He’s already bought 20 tickets himself.
-- Jeff Gottlieb
Photo: Customers wait in line to purchase lottery tickets on Friday. Credit: Paul Sakuma / Associated Press