INSIDE Lottery

Community editor Tammy Malgesini inadvertently scratched the wrong coordinates on an Oregon Lottery scratch ticket — initially thinking she had won $30,000.

Several weeks ago I thought I had a sudden windfall of $30,000.

After scratching about half of the corresponding coordinates on Oregon Lottery’s “Game of Riches,” it appeared I won the top prize. I scrambled downstairs to show my husband the card.

In the 15-20 minutes that I had thought I won, several things came to mind. First, I was ecstatic. I play sporadically, collecting winning cards and cashing them in for additional cards. They might sit on a nightstand for a week or more until I get around to scratching them.

I was thinking I wished I had scratched this particular card sooner, as we could have gone to the lottery office during our recent trip to Coos Bay. I looked at the calendar and told John I would need to take some Friday off from work so we could go to Salem to collect the winnings.

Pondering aloud about what I might buy, John interrupted to suggest I could use part of the winnings to take my cousins with me on a 60th birthday trip next February. This brought tears to my eyes — what a sweet thing for my husband to think of. Not only is he aware that Laura, Lynda and I have been talking about taking a trip together sometime, John knows how I like to do something special for monumental birthdays.

John wasn’t getting worked up with excitement like I was. Always the practical one, he said he’d believe it when he saw the money.

Then I thought, I have to sign the back of the card. Before doing so, I decided to double-check the scratched coordinates.

It was then that the disappointing reality slapped me in the face. I had inadvertently scratched F-8 instead of E-8. The worst part about my error is it appeared I won the top prize. If it had only been $10 or $20 I wouldn’t have been so bummed out.

And when I finally forced myself to finish playing the card, adding insult to injury, I didn’t win a thing. Not even the minimum $3. Zero. Nada. Nothing.

Later, John came upstairs to find me on the daybed looking at the card. “Staring at it isn’t going to change it,” he said.

I had to break the news to my cousins that we aren’t going to Hawaii or some exotic place. Initially, they were a bit confused because they didn’t even know I had been planning it in my head.

The $17 I currently have in winning tickets won’t even fill my gas tank for a road trip. Maybe, if I keep my fingers crossed, a future scratch ticket will be a big winner — or someone decides to send me a check or start a GoFundMe campaign. Meanwhile, I’m still dreaming about a 60th birthday in paradise.


Tammy Malgesini is the community editor. Her column, Inside my Shoes, includes general musings about life. Contact her at or 541-564-4539.

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