Where do I start.

Bingo.... is a very ingrained "cultural" experience up here. Emphasis on the "cult" part. I have been asked numerous times today and yesterday if I was going to play bingo tonight.

The answer: no.

I have a bit of a conflicted attitude about the bingo up here. Or bingo in general, I guess. But mostly just up here... because ... as like most things in the north, is prone to extremes.

The jackpot for Bingo tonite is $12,000.

That is a lot of money, that may very well go to someone in this community, or be held over a little longer.

But, UNLIKE any bingo I've ever been to (shut up, I find it amusing, and like to see how many cards I can actually dab before the next number is called) the buy-in is $20. And tonight, it's $30. That's just too rich for my blood. Nah-ah, no way.

And its not like people just buy one card, they buy two, three... maybe four. That's a hundred bucks. Personally, it seems like a lot of money to blow on just a game. I never really considered bingo to be gambling ... until I moved here. It was just a game. Not something you spend a hundred bucks on.

Like... playing poker for nickels... not dollars.

I remember being told, back when I was looking for a puppy, to make an ad on local radio* before Bingo... and I'd get whatever I want. That people sell anything they've got prior to bingo night, so they can play. I've even heard (though maybe this was an exaggeration) of people "selling" their kids. Maybe this means loaning them out... I'm not sure.

But then, on the other hand, the bingo is "not-for-profit" .... so supposedly this money ... what's left after the winners are paid... go to support local programs. But I have to wonder... is it worth the cost?

*Local radio here, is sort of like the classifieds section of your local paper. Except all day, every day, interspersed with music. There's only a weekly paper for the region (not even the town itself) so newspaper ads for the average person... is a bit tricky. It is our main "competitor" (though we don't really compete... we do completely different things) in the town.


Idealistic Pragmatist December 14, 2007 at 10:33 PM  

That would make a great story!

Aida December 15, 2007 at 12:02 AM  

haha, yes they try to sell EVERYTHING which is why we normally off our lights by 6pm prior to bingo night. if not there will be knocks on the door almost every hour!

North of Nain December 15, 2007 at 8:33 AM  

I played bingo in Pang a few times...once in person and couple times over the radio. I think the at home game was more fun. We had snacks, chatted more and just generally enjoyed the whole game. I didn't know anyone who sold stuff to play....but I do remember the day the town had no cash (Northern had no money and the two banks machines were empty) and bingo was on that night...lots of begging/borrowing to get the $50 for the game. I never won, but the $50 was usually worth the entertainment for the evening.

Elaine December 15, 2007 at 9:08 AM  

In case you haven't seen it yet...


Jen December 16, 2007 at 10:45 AM  

LOL I have worked a bingo before up here and I have to say at least they put their money back into social programs. It could go to booze or drugs, but here it goes to having a fun night out and then in return some kids might get some new cloths or get to play a sport.
People are really hard core at bingo eh! I was whispering to a friend and I just had about everyone stop and shoosh me at the same time...lol I won't make that mistake again. ;)

Anonymous December 16, 2007 at 2:42 PM  

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Anonymous December 16, 2007 at 2:46 PM  

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Kara and Matt December 16, 2007 at 5:14 PM  

I have to say that Bingo really bothers me. Groups here use it to fundraise, but all that happens is kids go hungry. People spend a lot of their money at bingo which is always scheduled on paydays. So what if the soccer team can now travel to a game in another community- if their parents cannot put any food on the table cause they blew their money at bingo there is a problem. I think there are much better ways to fundraise. Yes, they take a bit more effort, but it would be so much better for everyone in the community. I would like to see bingo banned.

Jen December 16, 2007 at 6:26 PM  

But if bingo is banned, then people would probably just spend money at gambling houses, they play dice and cards. So the food money is probably a loss anyways. And I have to admit it is a smoke free, alcohol free way for people to have fun. It's not all bad.

Kara and Matt December 17, 2007 at 11:31 PM  

You are right Jen. How about I expand my statement to: I want all gambling stoped!

Kara and Matt December 17, 2007 at 11:32 PM  

hmmmm no brains foe spelling tonight! stopped!