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Powerball in Chino Hills: ‘Believe in something bigger’

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My mother checks her ticket on Wednesday night to see if we’d won the big jackpot, only to discover that we don’t even have one matching number. I receive a text from my friend telling me that the winner of the lottery bought the winning ticket from the 7-Eleven convenience store on Chino Hills Parkway, a fact that teachers and friends alike frantically discuss the following day at school.

$1.6 billion. The largest lottery jackpot the United States has ever seen. Chino Hills.

A small suburb of Los Angeles, Chino Hills is a name that most people are unfamiliar with, until the results of the lottery came in and the city grew famous overnight. Newspaper columnists flocked to the now-renowned 7-Eleven on Thursday morning; television reporters flooded the streets surrounding Chino Hills Parkway; local residents surged into the convenience store for a celebration as the store owner was awarded $1 million for selling the lucky ticket.

Though the jackpot will be split among three winners from three different corners of the nation, it is undeniable that each person will still receive an extraordinarily large share of the prize money. While the lucky winners are undoubtedly very fortunate; it reflects a troubling trend in our modern society: the rise of obsessive materialism.

With slogans such as “Believe in Something Bigger,” Powerball encourages people to buy tickets in the hopes of gaining something that they probably could not earn through their own actions. While a certain amount of money is surely required to maintain a healthy lifestyle, too much money only leads to a troubling preoccupation with material goods.

In our consumer society driven by a mad desire to buy and sell goods in order to elevate one’s socioeconomic status, human interaction and genuine care for others seem to have been replaced with a mechanical, almost ritualistic process whereby people monotonously go to work, earn money, buy new things, go to work, earn money, buy new things, go to work, earn money, buy new things… and this troubling trend is only encouraged by the lottery advertisements on billboards by the side of the freeway that urge people to buy more and more tickets.

Of course, Powerball, as well as other lottery companies, encourages its customers to play responsibly, reminding people that they should never fall victim to an unpredictable game of chance that can quickly transform into a dangerous addiction.

While lotteries certainly encourage materialism, they alone cannot take the blame, since society’s superficiality will continue to grow in prevalence with or without their existence.

So go ahead. Buy a ticket every now and then. Play responsibly. As long as people can pursue monetary success without being entirely consumed by materialistic desires and selfish pride, there remains the hope that money, placed into good and honest hands, will not always lead to greed and corruption.

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