Powerball fever hit town hard
Updated: January 7, 2013 6:11AM
CLARENDON HILLS — Joan Garst barely had time to catch her breath Wednesday.
The longtime clerk at Clarendon Hills Hardware in the village’s downtown area said the sales of Powerball tickets for Wednesday night’s $550 million prize drawing started about 20 minutes after the store opened at 8 a.m. and didn’t stop, save for a few moments here and there.
“People started coming in Tuesday when they heard the jackpot had grown to $500 million,” Garst said. “They’ve just been coming in and buying their tickets and dreaming of what they would do if they won. A lot of them have said they would pay off all their bills.”
Paying off all bills and debt would be a priority for Clarendon Hills resident Jennifer VandeLune if she were to win the Powerball jackpot.
“It’s unbelievable how big this jackpot is,” she said. “It’s such a huge amount of money; I wouldn’t want it to really change the way we live. I’d buy a lake house on Lake Michigan, but for me the best thing about winning that much money would be no having the stress of money and bills anymore.”
Maria Tobin of Clarendon Hills had never before purchased a lottery ticket of any kind. But the huge Powerball jackpot had her planning to buy a ticket Tuesday afternoon when she stopped at a gas station to fill her car’s gas tank.
“I know the odds are very much against winning, but it’s the thrill of dreaming about it,” Tobin said.
Sandy Martinek, a Burr Ridge resident who works in Clarendon Hills, thought more of winning that much money as a nightmare. While her husband has purchased lottery tickets in the past, neither one of the couple planned to buy a Powerball ticket Tuesday.
“We don’t want to be that rich,” Martinek said. “It’s way too much; we would never be comfortable with that much.”
A single winner in Illinois, if they opted for a lump sum payment, would collect about $194 million after taxes on the $550 million jackpot.~.