Yesterday, Massachusetts’ Lottery Commission held a stunt to garner some good publicity and put a crimp in littering. In a program they called “Instant Replay,” they invited people to bring losing scratch tickets at Earthfest in Boston. For every 25 losing tickets turned in, people could get a new $1.00 scratch ticket.
The event was covered rather differently in Boston’s two papers.
The Globe, ever the friend of big government and Democratic initiatives, touted it as a roaring success. It was so successful, they say, that the organizers had to briefly close down, and at the end had to encourage people to come to the next event in two weeks.
The Boston Herald, however, no friend to big government, had a slightly different take. They found one guy who had hauled down 60,000 losing tickets, only to be turned away.
(Note: some folks will want to point out that Massachusetts has a Republican governor, and has had Republican governors for almost 20 years. A far more important statistic is that well over 80% of state legislators are Democrats, meaning that any actions by the governor can be overridden with ease.)
I have to side with the Herald on this one: the lottery commission was simply not prepared for this plan of theirs. A few sensible precautions — such as limiting the number of tickets someone could turn in at once — would have gone a long way towards making the situation more manageable.
But as far as the Globe is concerned, it’s the thought that counts. The commission WANTED to do something about littering, so that’s all that matters. Whether or not it would be effective, or if it was well planned and thought out, don’t count.