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Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Winning the Lottery

By Clifford Rothband

At my age, I'm trying to keep positive. I am always looking back over incidents and occurrences that about flattened me at the time. I can only laugh at how trivial they really were. And it's all true.

It was the mid-nineties, just around Thanksgiving time. We had a small business designing, selling and installing custom window treatments - draperies, blinds and interior fabrications.

No matter how hard one tried to please customers, one can't please everyone all the time. There are some who only look for fault most often as a scam so as not to pay or to renegotiate a contracted price. Which always held a smallest margin of profit since it was a very competitive business.

Or the client and spouse had a different idea how a custom finished installation would look in there house. We often had problem customers. We usually resolved the problem on the spot. But, this time, one of our elderly wealthy clients who paid for the education would force there grandchild, the attorney, to sue us in court.

Now reflect that the judge from the popular TV series program about small claims court was one of our clients and everything that they ordered came in wrong. Yet they told us not to worry. They taught me this acronym – SNAFU.

Things happen. It wasn't our fault and they paid us the balance on the promise that we would correct any and all problems. This family turned out to give us sterling recommendations and I stand indebted to them. Repeat business often depends on how well we handled problems.

Now it's Monday before Thanksgiving and we got served with papers that we defaulted on a court appearance, that the corporate veil was ignored and a judgment and lien has been placed on an individual name.

Litigation. It is part of business but to sue a mom and pop business in another state and without giving due notice is about as low as one can go. Thankfully, it never did go anywhere.

The good part. We had purchased a Florida Fantasy Five ticket in the supermarket. Wednesday evening before Thanksgiving we go to buy a few last-minute items and check our lottery tickets.

We got a winner!

The cashier tells us to sign the back before somebody steals it or you lose the ticket. In the excitement the name signed is the same as appearing on the judgment. Shoot!

On Thanksgiving day, we call the lottery commission offices. Questions, how can we cash in? What is the cash prize? To my astonishment the lottery office is closed until Monday.

These thoughts rush through my mind: Some one is going to share our winnings by default. Our business is teetering and we just get by - we sure can use the winnings. Hot dog, our ship has come in! Maybe a vacation or pay off some debt. Maybe a new delivery vehicle. So many dreams and things we do really need can now be bought. Holy cow!

The following Monday morning is slow after the holiday so we drive to the lottery office about 30 miles away. “Hey,” we screech as we enter. "We got a winner!"

We fill out the tax forms, the excitement and frenzy, how much did we win? Now the bad part. There are at least 20 other winners and one-third is held back for taxes. All that anxiety over nothing.

Yes, a winner but not even enough money for a new car or even a vacation. Poo. But we got teeshirts proclaiming that we won and a cute picture.

What memories.

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Please read instructions for submitting.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


What a story. You had me on pins and needles, wondering how it would turn out.

I greatly enjoyed your well-written story--starting with its irresistible title.

me too....good story - it sure would be nic to win a lottery - my husband plays mass cash and wins nothing....if he ever does win - he would have spent that much anyway....

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