Birthdays, anniversaries, addresses and other random collections of numbers were being strung together across the country by people ready to test their luck against the $550 million jackpot up for grabs in the Powerball lottery on Wednesday night.
For retailers selling the tickets, sales were brisk in advance of the drawing. "That's all I've been selling," said Chelsea Edmundson, a clerk at King's Carryout in Wellsville. From 6 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., she said the store sold 1,265 Powerball tickets. Although some of the store's regular customers purchased the tickets, clerk Natalie Dalrymple said she knew who was coming in for Powerball because she didn't recognize most of them. "I'd just ask, "How many?'" she said laughing.
It was a similar story at the BP station on state Route 170 in Calcutta, where clerk Edna Harzen said the line at her counter had extended to the front doors at 5:30 p.m., with most customers there for Powerball tickets. Among them was David Robinson of Newell, who answered statistically when asked what he thought his chances were. He flipped the ticket over and replied, "Whatever it says."
At the BP station in Calcutta, clerk Edna Harzen assisted customer Amy Pham in filling out her Powerball ticket on Wednesday evening, by which time the jackpot had swelled to $550 million. (Photo by Richard Sberna)
"I say I'm going to win every time I buy one, so it doesn't matter," he added. "One day, maybe I'll be right."
Another customer, Amy Pham of Wintersville, selected numbers chosen by her sister in California, Lanvy Pham, who emailed her the numbers to play. "If it wasn't for my sister, I wouldn't even buy it," she said. California is one of a handful of states not within the Powerball jurisdiction.
Though she purchased three tickets in all, Pham says she wouldn't distinguish between her sister's or hers. "We always say we'll always win and we'll always share." She believes that if she were to win, she would share her good fortune with others. "You can only eat so much, and you can only wear so much," she said. "It's always nice to share and to give."
Erin Adkins of Midland only came in to the Route 170 Drive-Thru in East Liverpool for a pack of cigarettes, but was persuaded when she saw the Powerball sign on the wall. She says four dollars was not much when compared with the possible $550 million payoff. "It doesn't hurt to try," she said. Adkins said she would pay off her student loans, put money away for her two children and share with her family.
Aware of the problems that might come from such a large windfall, she added, "I'd probably go into hiding, too."