Ever since I arrived on-island back in 1997, I’ve carefully saved purchase receipts and filed them away in my desk. Why? Some years ago (prior to my arrival, anyway), the government of Taiwan, in an effort to encourage businesses to pay their taxes, began printing numbers on the top of receipts which customers could redeem if they matched one of several winning numbers. This practice encouraged customers to hold businesses accountable who did not give out receipts. See this page for an example of how it looks today.
Today I finally got around to looking at my receipts from last November and December. No, I didn’t win the 2 million New Taiwan dollar grand prize, but I did match 4 of 8 digits, which means I can collect 1000 NT (currently just under $29 US).
No, I’ve never even come close to winning the big money, but I’ve come away at least 3 times with 1000 NT, and 200 NT maybe a half dozen times or so. Yes, this is small money (and they keep reducing the number of winning combinations). I think from time to time about not bothering to save the receipts anymore (a lot of people donate them to charities), but I experience the adrenalin rush of winning just enough to keep the suspense alive, at least for now…
Anyway, this reminds me of the stories Jesus shares in Luke 15 about the man who went out looking after the one lost sheep that got separated from the 99 others, and the woman who searches after one lost coin among ten silver coins. Both were precious to their owners. In the end, both the man and the woman call together their friends and neighbors, inviting them to share in their joy after what was lost is found. Jesus concludes: “Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents." Anyway, I invite the two or three of you who actually bother to read this blog regularly to similarly rejoice with me in my recovered spendings. Dinner and drinks are on me!
3/12 Update: Oops. I goofed. Today when I went to cash my earnings, I discovered that the last four digits were only countable on the total # from the 1st prize, not the grand prize #. So I only walked away with 200 NT this time. :-( Until recently, all the #’s were counted the same.