Just in case you were fool enough not to know, the future isn't and cannot be measured by medical wonders or sentient technologies. Instead, our unending, blind stumble to enlightenment can be gauged by our strides in meat-based advancements. Forget Silicon Valley. Screw Shanghai. The future? It's North Carolina.
In what could be humanity's single greatest advancement since the wheel, the tastemakers at the North Carolina Education Lottery have just unveiled the state's latest attempt to bolster lottery ticket sales: a barbecue-scented lottery ticket.
That's right. According to the Raleigh-based News & Observer, here is how it will work:
You will scratch. You will sniff. A delicious, smoky scent will waft up at you. It will be so delectable that, according to the people behind the lottery, you will keep coming back for more, willing to wage your hard-earned cash on the tiniest of chances that you may win big. The barbecue-y smell will make it all worth it.
This week, North Carolina's BBQ Bucks were unveiled at two locations: Clyde Cooper's Barbecue in downtown Raleigh and at Queen City Q in Charlotte. The $2 scratch-and-sniff tickets smell generically "smoky" and, according to officials, will not evoke a particular type of barbecue.
This is important because North Carolina is known for dueling barbecue styles—"Eastern" and "Western." The main difference between the two is that Eastern-style sauce is vinegar-and pepper-based with no tomato whatsoever, while Western- or "Lexington-style" barbecue has a red sauce made with ketchup and is served with a red slaw.
Competition between the two styles, which can become heated in North Carolina, must have presented something of a problem to lottery officials. But they are happy to avoid the issue: "I can tell you that there was intention to make sure the ticket's scent didn't try to live up to the real thing, which the lottery is content to leave to [barbecue] experts, like the folks at Cooper's," lottery spokesman Chris Bushnell told MUNCHIES. "That's why we went with a smoky scent."
"As you surmise, we set out to be Switzerland when it comes to the eternal debate between Eastern versus Western style, hence the smoky scent," Bushnell added.
The $2 tickets will have a pot of $25,000, and entitle some winners to enter a secondary drawing to win 100 pounds of pork and a Big Green Egg grill. The odds of winning, however, are—as usual—pretty ridiculous: 1 in 888,000 for the $25,000. Still, you get to smell that smoky goodness, so no one is a loser, right?
That's what North Carolina is counting on. But some would argue that lotteries in general are scams that target people who certainly should not be spending their hard-earned last dollars on meaty-smelling paper.
And North Carolina is not the first state to believe the pig is the way to get its citizens to cough up some bucks. Although North Carolina has never gone the scented route before, New Hampshire, Colorado, and Indiana all sell bacon-scented tickets. Clearly writing off their Muslim and Jewish populations, whose religious laws prohibit the eating of pork, these states are banking on pig.
Colorado also offers lottery tickets with other scents. And no, there are no weed-scented tickets. At least not yet. Colorado's lottery tickets are scented with chocolate, coffee, and the tantalizing "bouquet."
Some states are being really creative. Nebraska has gone with sriracha, offering the spicy tickets at the state fair this past weekend.
So maybe the next thing we'll see is Colorado branching out and exploring other scents that are now legal in that state.
We can always hope.