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Thursday, March 7, 2019

Father Loses Life's Savings, Wins Giant Banana

     In April 2013, 30-year-old Henry Gribbohm from Epsom, New Hampshire, took his toddler son to a carnival in nearby Manchester. Lured by the prospect of winning a Xbox Kinect (a motion-sensing accessory worth $100), Gribbholm began playing a game called Tubs of Fun operated by an independent contractor with an arrangement with the carnival's owner, Fiesta Shows.

     When Tubs of Fun contestants make free practice throws, the balls land where they are supposed to. But when playing for money, the balls don't stay in the tubs. That means the player doesn't win a prize. (Welcome to the carnival world where nothing is on the level, and all the food is bad for you.)

     As hard as he tried, Mr. Gribbohm couldn't get the balls into the right tubs. It wasn't long before he had squandered $300 on the game. Instead of cutting his loses and walking away poorer but wiser, Gribbohm drove home for more cash. Determined to win his money back, he returned to Tubs of Fun with his entire life's savings, $2,300. (Like P. T. Barnum said, "There's a sucker born every day.")

     In a desperate effort to win back his money, Mr. Gribbohm played double or nothing until he was broke. He had dropped a total of $2,600 on the Tubs of Fun Game. (These particular tubs were not much fun for Mr. Gribbohm.

     The next day, Gribbohm returned to the carnival where he accused the Tubs of Fun operator of running a rigged game. To show his good faith, the operator gave Gribbohm $600 in cash and a "Rasta Banana"--a six-foot stuffed banana with a happy face and dreadlocks.

     The disgruntled owner of a Rasta Banana filed a complaint with the Manchester Police Department. Pending the results of the game-rigging investigation, Fiesta Shows put Tubs of Fun on the shelf.

     To a local television reporter, Gribbohm said, "You just get caught up in the whole 'I've got to win my money back thing.' "

     Generally I have contempt for suckers. But when I saw a news photograph of this father pushing a stroller with the Rasta Banana over his shoulder, I couldn't help feeling sorry for the guy. I don't know if it's because he has a child, or looked pathetic carrying around that giant banana. Maybe the story got to me because I don't like carnivals. I guess all of us, at some time in our lives, have doubled down. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. But when the game is rigged, you always lose.


  1. Hi I'm the carny that did it . I don't feel sorry for him at all, he knew there was a chance he could lose all that money. Also after he spent $40 I tried to convince him to quite. People lose money like that all the time,and don't cry about it. Everyone knows that carnival games are hard to win and the odds are in our favor. So if your dumb enough to give me that much $ after you have been warned, yes I warned him before he spent the first $ that it gets deep quick .then you deserve to lose it . I sleep well at night knowing I desperate fools from there money. No I don't feel sorry for him a bit may by for the kid only because he has a dumbass for a father