- Title: ITALY: Italians play 'people's lottery' for a week's supply of food
- Date: 3rd December 2008
- Summary: PALERMO, ITALY (RECENT) (REUTERS) PEOPLE WALKING IN PALERMO FOOD MARKET FISH SELLER THROWING WATER OVER HIS PRODUCE MAN SELLING SNAILS GROUP OF JAPANESE TOURISTS BUTCHER CHOPPING UP LAMB LOTTERY MAN, FILIPPO, LAYING OUT PRODUCE ON TROLLEY VARIOUS PRODUCE ON TROLLEY (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) LOTTERY MAN, FILIPPO, SAYING: "I think it's because of the crisis, a person can buy one of my tickets and get 100 or 150 euros worth of shopping that will last a week or fifteen days." BUTCHER BUYING LOTTERY TICKET FROM FILIPPO AND FILIPPO MAKING SIGN OF CROSS FILIPPO SELLING TICKET TO FRUIT SELLER FILIPPO SELLING TICKET TO FOOD SHOP OWNER (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) FOOD SHOP OWNER SAYING: "Yes every morning, I've never won." FILIPPO PUSHING TROLLEY THROUGH MARKET FILIPPO SELLING TICKET TO FISH STALL OWNER (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) WIFE OF FISH STALL OWNER, GIULIANA SAYING: "Yes I buy a ticket every day, he always has good produce and we don't have to worry with him - luck has to arrive sometime."
- Embargoed: 18th December 2008 12:00
- Location: Italy
- Country: Italy
- Topics: Economic News,Light / Amusing / Unusual / Quirky
- Reuters ID: LVA2YB433MP91C7VFCOW5TTKMMTG
- Story Text: Italians play for food, not money, in market lottery for a week's supply of meat or fish to feed the whole family.
The sounds and smell of Sicily's main food market in Palermo seem light years away from the problems of the tumbling Asian stock market or the global financial crisis but here the knock on affects are being felt as elsewhere in the world.
Every day 55-year-old Filippo, who declined to give his last name, heads to the market to organise his 'riffa' or 'people's lottery' which allows him to boost his invalid pension and others to win a week's supply of food for their family.
Filippo sells lottery tickets, but rather than a cash win, the prize is a trolley packed with food.
He prides himself that the products he buys from the market, which nestles behind the city's justice building, are of the highest quality.
Even though Filippo's lottery is clandestine, he insists his clients get only the best.
Packed with local delicacies including slabs of lamb, veal cutlets, brochettes of beef and sausages bought for about 80 euro (101 US dollars), Filippo loads up his trolley and walks around the market selling tickets for between 2 and 5 euro (2.5 - 6 US dollars). There is a discount if you buy more than one at a time.
He says his lottery is a great success and sells about 100 tickets a day.
"I think its because of the crisis, a person can buy one of my tickets and get 100 or 150 euros worth of shopping that will last a week or fifteen days," he said.
Filippo is not the only one operating in the market, he passes other 'riffa' organisers wheeling around trolleys of fish, and some lottery organisers miraculously disappear with a prize never being announced.
Most of the lottery clients are shop or stall owners. Many say it is better to buy a ticket for a couple of euros every day than risk inexplicable mishaps occurring to their property or produce.
Some stall owners have stories of apples being stolen, or broken shop windows, but as usual in this town no one is sure who the culprit is.
But Filippo is one of the trusted few.
"Yes I buy a ticket every day, he always has good products and we don't have to worry with him - luck has to arrive sometime," said the wife of a fish stall owner, Giuliana.
An array of cost saving activities are on hand at the market.
People rifle through second hand clothes stalls, others organise lotteries with only money being the prize. Groups of men gather in the tight alleyways with coins changing hands, and disperse as quickly as they come together.
Some people simply beg for money supposedly for the local church.
But you certainly couldn't accuse Filippo of not making his ticket draw public. Waving a large cardboard box and shouting, a by-stander draws the winning ticket number. It's number 81 this time.
Then it's back through the market for Filippo, shouting at the top of his voice the winning number.
A smiling fish stall holder Mimo Sanpino proudly holds out his winning ticket to claim his prize.
"The lucky person should share their winnings with everybody else," Sanpino said, adding it was something the politicians had yet to learn during these hard times.
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