ELYRIA — Experienced drinkers and revelers often refer to New Year’s Eve as amateur night.
That same description could describe Wednesday’s crazed rush to buy Powerball tickets by savvy lottery players as well as lottery babes-in-the-woods who didn’t have a clue about what to do.
The Ten 2 Ten Beverage Drive Thru on Cleveland Street saw a steady stream of customers driving through or walking in as of midafternoon.
John Groh, an Elyria man, knew exactly what he’d do with the jackpot of approximately $580 million — the second-largest Powerball jackpot ever.
“I’d take a few of my fellow employees on vacation in Hawaii,” said Groh, who works at the Elyria Bob Evans.
“I’d buy their (airline) tickets and hotel, but after that they’d be on their own,” Groh said. “And then I’d get them back home when it was time to go.”
Groh said he’d also use some of the money to pay his mother’s bills and take care of his sisters.
Sales were four times more than a normal Saturday, according to employee Debbie Lance, who said Powerball ticket sales stood at $871 as of about 4 p.m.
That compared with $203 in Powerball sales for a recent Saturday “when we’re usually busier.”
Wednesday’s sales were more than eight times as great as Powerball ticket sales for a Wednesday earlier in the month when the drive-through sold $96 worth.
“I’ve had people who have never played the lottery,” Lance said. “They have no idea what it (Powerball) is.”
Many people bought a few tickets, although the biggest spender shelled out $80 in hopes of snaring the enormous cash prize said to be worth more than the gross domestic product of many countries around the globe.
“It’s really jumping off today,” Pat Jackson said from behind the sales counter at the BP station at Cleveland and East Bridge streets where customers all day asked for Powerball tickets along with their beer, cigarettes and other necessities.
Jackson had to school some novice Powerball buyers on what to do.
“One guy asked for a $2 ticket, and I had to tell him it was an additional $1 for the Powerball and he said, “Oh…it’s another dollar,” Jackson said. “They had to get an education.”
Jackson credited the manic level of sales to the simple notion that “everyone wants a share of it.”
Like the woman who walked into the station wearing a winter coat and flannel pajama bottoms.
“See, I had to get out of bed to come in and buy my tickets,” she said with a laugh.
So what would she do with all that dough?
“I’d pay off my bills, buy a home, go on vacation, get liposuction, and buy a personal trainer,” she said. “I’ve got a whole list.”
“It is cra-a-a-z-z-z-y!” Jackson said, drawing out the word as she described the day’s business.
Anyone on the verge of putting a down payment on a new car or feeding their credit card information into an online hotel booking site for that trip to Cancun might just want to think it through first.
The odds of selecting the six winning numbers are about 1 in 175 million.
Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or firstname.lastname@example.org.