Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Spare Change Lottery

The 47 cent lottery ticket
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I hate change. The coinage sort, I mean. Whenever I get change, I always drop it in the tip jar or the milk fund or the hand of the next person in line.

Many supermarkets have little electronic pay-with-yer-credit-card lottery stations at checkout stands now. I propose a different sort.

You drop your coins in, and based on the amount you've paid it instantly calculates your chances of winning a $5 prize, $10 prize, or $20 prize. Then it chooses a random number and--if you're lucky--spits out a bill. Simple as that. Winners would be fairly frequent.

One disadvantage: less money for the milk funds. Then again, if the gains go toward education, it might be for the better.

-----EDIT FOR CLARITY-----

I shouldn't have called it a lottery. There are a few significant differences. *This* system returns immediate positive reinforcement, requires no ticket or time, and works solely on a small scale. You are not in a "competition." (Jackpots need to be done in a lottery format because the number of winners needs to be very carefully controlled.)

So I'll make this idea more concrete: At the checkout, there's a little box with a coin slot on top designed for dumping a fistful of change (like on some public transit systems). You dump your change. It counts your change, multiplies the amount in cents by (e.g.) 0.16 (let's call the result x), randomly generates a rational number between 0 and 100 (y), and, if x>y, instantly spits a fiver out a slot. Boom. Done. Thank you for playing.

If the average amount dumped was 50c, 8% (!) of customers would win, and the machine would make 20%.

And, yes, if you gave $6.25 or more, you would automatically get the $5.

---------------

nilstycho, Feb 26 2004

Fractional denomination gaming system and method of playing http://patft.uspto....96569&RS=PN/6296569
[Klaatu, Oct 04 2004]

[link]






       What?! Throw away your change? I once paid for a full year's tuition at a community college with saved change. --wait! I suddenly feel the need to be VERY specific-- I deposited the change in the bank and wrote a check. <dodge a pun, save a life.>   

       But, if your lottery was around 10 years ago, I would have paid in 5s, 10s and 20s, so here's a bun and 17 cents.
MuddyBuddy, Feb 26 2004
  

       This problem doesn't exist in casino towns
theircompetitor, Feb 26 2004
  

       damn that spare change to hell
stinkycheese, Feb 26 2004
  

       i dont know if they have these in the states but up here in some of our grocery stores theres a machines that weighs your change accruitly and then dispenses a recipt with the amount put into the machine which you can redeem for food. so instead of having a crap load of spare change you have a minamil amount of reciepts. off course there is a small fee. (like for every 5 cents you put in the charge you 1 cent
stinkycheese, Feb 26 2004
  

       Good idea. It is more like a slot machine than a lottery, though, and if nothing else that could cause legal trouble. Why not a proper lottery? Numbers could be weighted centrally according to price paid, or (better) you could just sell ranges. A 99¢ ticket might buy you 49 numbers on either side of one you select, an 11¢ ticket five (effectively, you'd just sell large numbers of 1¢ "tickets").   

       Or you might work it into an existing lottery (after some careful math) by selling tickets with fewer numbers than those required for the jackpot or the larger prizes (10¢ for the last two digits only, etc.) Maybe customers could ask for a ticket instead of any change below a certain denomination.
Monkfish, Feb 26 2004
  

       you could make the payment device (in case anyone gets lucky) a few meters away from the place where you stick your coins, so that you can take your money without displaying too much attention and without disturbing the line..
sweet, Feb 26 2004
  

       Heh, scout. It's interesting, but I think a great number of people are learning bad English by using the internet. For example, the words "were" and "where" are confused a lot, and I think people who don't natively speak English, or are just bad spellers, now make this mistake quite frequently because they learned how to spell these words by reading them in other people's posts on the internet. My God, it's even worse with "its" and "it's"! Did everyone fall asleep in school or something?
Size_Mick, Feb 26 2004
  

       Similar idea patented: US 6,296,569
xaviergisz, Feb 26 2004
  

       Can I have my winnings in nickels and pennies?
RayfordSteele, Feb 26 2004
  

       Oh wow, this is a brilliant idea. Someone should bake it now.
FishFinger, Mar 02 2004
  

       I agree. I think this is a superb idea for both the lottery holder and those who enter it.
Bamboo, Mar 02 2004
  

       Sounds like a slot machine to me.
contracts, Jun 15 2004
  

       Very interesting... (slinks off to a change machine)
DesertFox, Jun 27 2004
  
      
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