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Blog Posted in avatar   Johnny Summerton's Blog

Jackpot win for a Frenchwoman should bring a smile to the face - shouldn't it?

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By Johnny Summerton
Posted Mar 9, 2011 in Lifestyle
It's the kind of story you read from time to time in the press, see on the telly or hear on the radio: surely a dead cert to make you feel good and perhaps start wondering what you would do if you won a pile of money.
"A woman places 50 centimes and wins €238,830 at a casino in Toulouse," runs the headline on the site of the regional French daily La Dépêche du Midi.
But take a scroll down the page and you'll see that not everybody is delighted by the win, or the story.
Because among the "congratulations" are some comments that are - to put it politely - simply mean-spirited.
There are those that accuse the paper of "running an infomercial-type story" or others expressing disgust at the amount of money the casino must have "raked in" before someone hit the jackpot.
Wouldn't you expect readers to be happy for the Maryse, the fiftysomething named in the piece who's also seen smiling in an accompanying photo receiving a "symbolic cheque" for the amount?
After all, as the hospital worker tells the paper, she only plays the slot machines once a month and never risks a great deal of money as proven by her having only bought €10-worth of 50-centimes tokens.
And her win should bring an even bigger smile to the face of those reading as she was obviously more than overjoyed when she thought she had won the smaller amount of €25,000.
That was the figure the machine had registered when Maryse hit the jackpot.
"I was already happy but when the director of the slot machines told me exactly how much I had won, I cried like a child," she told the paper.
"I thought such large sums of money were only reserved for 'serious' players."
But no, some of La Dépêche readers aren't at all happy for her, the paper or the casino it seems.
This is the age of the Net of course, in which the habit of making perhaps snide and resentful comments has become easy and almost commonplace - especially when they can be left anonymously.
Maybe they have a point when they write that the casino is getting some free publicity in a story that tells us, "The win is the biggest since it opened four years ago."
And maybe they're right that by publishing the first name, a photo and giving the job of the winner, the paper has, "Provided enough information to allow other 'less fortunate souls' to come begging at her door or begin bombarding her with telephone calls."
But heck. Where does all this cynicism and apparent churlishness come from? And why do they feel the need to express their thoughts?
Why can't they just be happy for her?
Oh well you can't win them all.
But at least Maryse did.

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