SamHenry on Americans and Gambling – It’s in Our DNA

Posted on December 22, 2010


Today taking a gamble that there would be a parking place near a very large Wegman’s market, SamHenry embarked on yet another singular adventure in an ordinary setting.

Each year Sam’s brother sends a $100 Wegman’s Food Store gift card with the plea “don’t spend it all on chocolate.”  That’s taking a gamble on  his part.  Happily the family will gather here for aged prime rib roast bought and paid for, in large, by that gift card.  Like every addict, Sam hides chocolate purchases. It can honestly be reported no chocolate was purchased via the gift card.

So ambling over to the meat counter for a gourmet turkey and roast, the meat people said the manager was waiting to have a follow up conversation to the one when placing the order.  Discussion had focused on  how the store was shifting to store brands throughout and knocking out some perfectly good stuff that has resulted in a change in Sam’s shopping habits and of others as well (according to the manager).  Who can keep up with the changes in retail in this economy.  But Wegman’s is taking a calculated risk that the extent to which they are moving into store brand  will not lose them some customers.

In the milk section, it was necessary to help a lovely black woman to the last bottle of the brand favored in this  household because her daughter was coming home and needed the best of everything.  An hour’s chat ensued with groceriesit was clear this was a woman who could be trusted so Sam’s name and phone were released – a gamble that the information will be traded for another good chat.  Most Americans are friendly – it’s in our DNA.  We take such gambles daily.

Finally, groceries secured, all that remained was to roll the cart down the line to the door and on to the parking lot.  Passing not one but two carefully positioned instant lottery machines, two older men were seen to be putting quite a few dollars into the abyss of machine gambling.  Both answered the question:  do you ever win at this with “rarely to never.”  But they said it was fun.  This reminds one that Americans love to bet on the underdog, the impossible and beating these machines is the closest to perfection in this area that you can get.

Well, that’s enough gambling for one day. But it just goes to show you that on any given day, trusting, intelligent citizens will gamble some portion of their lives away.  No wonder snake oil sold so well for so long.  We thought Obama was the number one seller of it during the first year of his administration.  He had turned his back on the independents who had helped elect  him. But he has turned the corner to the center again and has brought a number of Republicans with him to create a remarkable lame duck session.   Only a few short weeks ago, the talking heads were predicting he was through and would not successfully run in 2012.  SamHenry wasn’t willing to take that bet but instead using history as a guide, figured Barack and his machine could pull off another upset – that they were more than  able to turn things around on a dime and win. That’s a calculated risk not betting.