Things I love about Taipei #730: The receipt lottery!

Dear Taipei,

There are a lot of things about you that many of us foreigners find odd at first, but eventually become accustomed to. The one I often find myself slipping up on is that due to the fragile sewerage plumbing system, toilet paper is meant to be thrown out in a bin beside the toilet, and not directly in the bowl.

Conversely, one “custom” I took to very quickly is receipt hoarding.


My precioussss….

You see, in Taiwan, you can win the equivalent of around AU$415,000/ US$320,000/ ¥38,000,000 just by keeping the receipts you receive after making a purchase. It is a Government initiative! HOW AMAZING IS THAT?!

The reason the Government came up with the Receipt Lottery is because, as explains:..  it is an effort to get merchants to keep things on the books. The theory being, with millions in winnings on the line, customers would start demanding receipts with every purchase and merchants would wind up with all their income on the books.

Now, I don’t know how it’s done in your country, but in Ozstraya if we had this problem we’d punish people by not letting them ride on their kangaroos for a year (probably a safe move given the drop bear incidents). Or, at least take away their Tim Tam buying privilege. No but seriously, in Australia if an inspector caught you not following proper trade regulations, you would be slapped with a big fine. That’s if you’re even caught, so such a system has many flaws.

I am baffled by the ingenuity of the Taiwanese Government to recognise that:

People + money = happy.
People + free money = freaking nuts
People ask for receipts= (maybe) free money
Businesses legalise to produce receipts= > accountability
People buy more to get more receipts = businesses x happy
Government revenue from taxes gained by business registration > Government output for paying lottery winners

Happy people + Happy Government + Happy businesses = HAPPY x 3 = HAPPY3 = Pharrell Williams.

(And I didn’t do economics why?)

Jan-Feb 2015 lottery numbers

Jan-Feb 2015 lottery numbers

This is the lowdown for those budding Cristal swiggers: Every registered business will give you a receipt with a printed number. Every two months the lottery numbers are announced. You look at the last 3 numbers on your receipts. If your numbers match, then congrats playaa, you have won NT$200 (AU/US$8). The more matching numbers in a row you have, the more money you get. If you perfectly match the entire set of numbers, call me!

As I’ve mentioned, I don’t have any income here, so of course I was one of those FREAKS who collects all their receipts. You should have seen when my friend so nonchalantly tossed our their receipts. Woah, woah, woah! Back it up here buddy. Since when were you ballin’ it? WHO DO U THINK U R tossing out those receipts like they be mere pieces of paper?!* DON’T YOU KNOW YOU ARE THROWING AWAY MY HOPES AND DREAMS WITH THOSE RECEIPTS?

*As of that moment my friend count became 0.

I really did collect all my receipts, and eagerly awaited for April to roll around so I could find out how much I won. Every time a friend offered me their receipts I was ecstatic.

I even organised for my friends to come around to my house so we could have a lottery party when the results were announced (sadly, I’m not even joking). Of course, most of my friends have lives (unlike me) so most weren’t collecting the receipts, and receipt reading was shunned for alcohol inducing.

So just yesterday, I finally got my act together and checked my receipts. I was really excited, as I sat alone in my room checking receipt after receipt. Cos that’s the cool thing to do after midnight on a Friday, kids.

Constant thoughts ticked through my head: These are probably my last moments of not being a bajillionaire. I will look back at this time in my autobiography, recounting how I used to live “da tough lyf”,  and now I am ballin’ it on a private island which I had landscaped into the shape of a giant dumpling. Despite my wealth, I plan to stay humble, and will act as a beacon of hope — a deity even– to all those seeking their fortunes from The Great Lottery of Taiwan.

Accurate representation of what would happen if I won:

imageimageAs my pile is dwindling down, I’m getting a bit anxious. Why are my numbers not matching? Why did I get a receipt with 847 not 022? THIS IS A GOVERNMENT CONSPIRACY. IT’S ALL LIES!!

So quickly, did my elation at the very real prospect of winning turn into something that looked like this:

imageimageimageI am still shocked I didn’t win anything. What about my dreams of a Condo? Of meeting Obama? Of happiness?

But, despite my unchanged financial state, I still love you, oh Great Lottery of Taiwan. I forgive you, ok baby?

We can make this up, we can get through this, together.

I believe.



  1. hahahahahaha i love this posting!!! So dynamic and funny! 😂😂😂😂😂 im sad that you didnt win anything 😭😭 lets wait for the next round!!coming in May~!!!


    1. Thank you Dahee <3!! Did you win anything?

      Yes, let's wait til May, I'm SURE that we will win big then!! Maybe even with that receipt from the cake place!!!


  2. ChasingGains · · Reply

    That’s actually an awesome initiative from the Taiwanese government! And your economics checks out, it’s never too late enter the field of Economics ! 😀


    1. Hahaha, thank you for your vote of confidence, however, I think I would run myself into Lehman Bros debt if I entered the field of economics!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. hahaha you’re too cute!!! Hope you win 2 million dollars! (NT)


    1. Hi Ariel!

      Thanks for your comment! ^^ I hope so too! I don’t know about cute, more like crazy I think!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. No you’re definitely cute haha! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. […] class – and also I’m delighted that there’s somebody else out there as obsessed with the Taiwan Receipt Lottery as I am!). I have no doubt that it will become one of the most famous Taiwan blogs of all time. […]


  5. Hahaha, this was like talking to my mirror image. My receipt are managed better than my PhD notebook for obvious reasons. One mega prize, and I go up in the sky. Waiting for January 25th. :p

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, yay! I’m glad to see I’m not the only one completely obsessed! I didn’t know it was the 25th it’s announced… You must be more in love with it than me!

      I’ve had some friends visit from overseas recently so I asked (ie begged desperately) them to give me their receipts! Hopefully we will both win something this time round!


      1. I have a deal with some friends,’give me your receipt, I will share the winnings’. I ended up buying chicken with the 200 I won last time :p

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Hahaha you’re too nice! I think if you friends can’t be bothered to keep the receipts and they give them to you the winnings are all yours!

    See with these friends I don’t have this problem as I went back to their respective countries. So if I win big, dammit, I’m going to spend it all! :-p


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