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HEY, YOU NEVER KNOW -- SO WATER, LOTTERY SALES BOOM

Booming sales of the two hottest items in stores Friday -- lottery tickets and water -- were a sure sign that people were looking ahead to 2000 and beyond.

The water buyers were putting aside plastic jugs just in case the dreaded Y2K bug led to shortages in the near future.

The lottery ticket buyers were hoping to secure their long-term future by taking a chance at the highest jackpot in the state lottery's 32-year history, the $100 million that will go to the winner of the Millennium Millions game.

The winning numbers selected Friday night were 8, 23, 38, 39, 46, Millennium Ball 14.

Frank Sorviano of Buffalo had just bought a lottery ticket at the Tops Supermarket at Grant and Amherst streets, but what he said about his chances of winning could also apply to the Y2K bug or the new year:

"We'll just have to see what happens."

Both pessimists and optimists converged on area stores to make their last purchases of 1999, leading to long lines just about anywhere a teller opened a cash register.

Throughout the day, shoppers emptied pallets of bottled water almost as quickly as machines spit out lottery tickets at local supermarkets.

At Tops, store manager Dave Daddario said he had sold about twice as much water Friday as he had on Thursday, when he had "huge" sales.

"Traditionally, this is one of our busiest days of the year," he said. "I don't know if it's more busy only because of Y2K. I think it's just people getting more items."

Along with water, canned vegetables, canned soups and canned macaroni were selling in noticeably higher quantities than usual, he said.

"It's been a steady flow all day, and I anticipate it to stay that way until around 6 or 7 o'clock," Daddario said.

At the nearby Wegmans on Amherst Street, manager Carl Scanlon also said keeping the bottled water display filled was a constant exercise.

"We've sold numerous skid quantities," he said. A skid, he explained, has 40 cases. Each case had four 1-gallon jugs. "We can't keep the shelves full."

Scanlon said sales of milk and bread -- "the basics" -- were also brisk. "I don't know if people think it's the day the world's going to end, but people are buying canned goods," he said.

People were "double-buying," he said, meaning they bought essential items as well as party items for New Year's Eve celebrations.

At both stores, it appeared that all available cashier stations were open, with lines of at least four or five grocery carts stretching back from them.

The lines looked even longer at the lottery machines as dreamers bought the $2 tickets. At Tops, a separate line was set up where customers could purchase Quick Pick Millennium Millions tickets that the store had already punched out of the machines.

People also waited at smaller stores, such as Chef's Deli on Elmwood Avenue.

"Today, it's been steady," said owner Sam Hasan. "Today is the first day we've really seen a big increase."

At Sans Souci on Hertel, clerk Sebastian Militello said that while some people have bought as much as $20 worth of tickets, most people are just buying one ticket.

"We've got people that come in practically every day and buy one ticket," he said. "They've been doing that since they first announced the game."

Statewide, lottery officials reported more than $40 million worth of sales heading into Thursday. Sales for Thursday and Friday could reach $10 million a day, they said.

The odds of winning the Millennium Millions game are 1 in 53 million. The odds of winning the regular state Lotto game are 1 in 18 million. The odds of being struck by lightning are 1 in 1.9 million.