There are bad days, there are really bad days, and then there's this. The kind of day that should have been the luckiest one of your life, except for one little problem that makes all the good luck you should be having mean nothing at all. Maybe your usual numbers won on the week you agreed to stop throwing your money away on lottery tickets. Maybe the Publisher's Clearinghouse letter you threw away really was worth a million dollars. Maybe, on the first day of your new diet, the kid who was right behind you in the 7-11 finds a golden ticket in his candy bar.
In most cases, nobody actually gets hurt, but Lady Luck will rub your nose in all the good fortune you'd have had if something else had gone differently.
- One Disney Ducks comic by Keno Don Rosa, "The Sign of the Triple Distelfink", reveals that Born Lucky Gladstone Gander's birthday is the one day of every year when he's unlucky. Unfortunately for many readers, the story ends with the discovery that the titular magical symbol, which is what gives Gladstone all of his infamous luck, was flawed when created, and it's fixed, meaning this one chink in Gladstone's armor is gone. It's not a very popular story for that reason.
- Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day: The title character is a little boy who wakes up one morning with gum in his hair. And it's all downhill from there.
- Miss Bindergarten Has a Wild Day in Kindergarten has the day go wrong for just about everybody in some way. For starters, the titular teacher burns her toast, accidentally cracks an egg onto her bird's tail, loses the beads to her necklace, spills her juice, and gets a flat tire all in the same morning.
- It gets more hectic at school through the book, Adam's throws his hat onto a mobile causing it to come down, Brenda comes in late with things coming out of her bookbag, Christopher has an accident when trying to get to the bathroom, Danny accidentally sprays Emily when tending to his seeds causing the latter to blow her truck at him throughout the rest of the story, Franny accidentally knocks one of her shoes on something down on Miss Bindergarten's desk, Gwen falls off of a footstool in the library, Ian accidentally tears a page on a book he and Christopher were reading, Jessie accidentally drops a jar of bugs causing Kiki to cut her thumb, Noah drops his rock from the rock collection on top of his foot, Ophilia's smock gets caught on her painting, Patrica trips over Franny's backpack and drops her tray, Quintin overeats and gets sick, Raffie ends up soaking Sara with his apple juice, Tommy dumps too much dirt onto his plant, Ursula rips open a seed packet spilling the seeds everywhere, Vicky pours way too much water on her plant causing it to overflow and get on Sara's tail, Wanda accidentally whacks the Principal with a ball, and Xavier scrapes his knee. All in all, Henry, Matty, Yolanda and Zach are the only ones spared from this trope.
- The Jamie Foxx Show: Some hotelier lady won't let some worker at the hotel buy his regular lottery numbers. And it turns that no-one won... and that the "asinine" winning numbers of 1-2-3-4-5, were that worker's usual numbers. (Not really asinine, as statistically speaking, any sequence of numbers is exactly as likely as any other.) It is more likely someone else will pick those numbers.
- The Bill: Everyone thinks Reg Hollis has won the lottery because his numbers have all come up, and it turns out for some reason that he changed one of them. The result of this is that he gets hosed down in a cell and the fact that 5 numbers (in most case) still gets a substantial prize between them is completely ignored.note
- Hangin' with Mr. Cooper and Webster both had plotlines where someone buys a lottery ticket with their age as one of the numbers (so they think), and everyone thinks that the someone has won the jackpot... until it's discovered that the character fibbed about their age when buying the ticket. D'oh! (Once again, the "5 numbers out of 6 is still worth a lot of cash" angle is ignored.)
- A different kind is portrayed in the first episode (and opening titles) of My Name Is Earl: Earl wins at scratch cards, but while he's celebrating, he gets rammed by a car. This is supposed to be the event that convinced Earl of the existence of karma, and that he needs to atone for all the bad things he's done up until now so that nice things can start happening to him again.
- Minor subversion: On an episode of Nurses (1991), the nurses' lottery ticket numbers are drawn — but the person who bought the ticket got one of the numbers wrong. But this time, they actually _do_ realize that 5 of 6 numbers wins them a good deal of money, after the Aesop on how they really do care about the person who screwed up.
- In the ABC Columbo episode "Death Hits the Jackpot", a young man in the final stages of a divorce wins the jackpot and asks his Uncle (Rip Torn) to cash in the ticket and hold the money for him so he won't have to split it with his soon-to-be ex-wife. Naturally his Uncle kills him. A VERY bad day indeed.
- One episode of Everybody Hates Chris has Chris going to buy a lottery ticket for his dad, but he decides to spend the money on something else instead. Naturally, that's the day his dad's numbers turn out to win.
- The first half of the Scrubs episode "My Butterfly" has everything going wrong for the characters, resulting in a patient dying on the operating table. The second half replays the day with everything going right ... and then the patient dies anyway.
- Lampshaded in the Monty Python's Flying Circus sketch "Cheese Shop." The customer is running down a list of possible cheeses he can buy only for the proprietor to tell him the shop is out of it.
Customer: Not my lucky day, then.
- Donkey Hodie:
- The episode "Donkey's Bad Day" is about Donkey thinking that her day has gone awry after an alarm clock falls on her hoof and she spills her favorite cereal. She is so upset over these two events that nothing can cheer her up until Purple Panda suggests making a happy memories box.
- "Donkey And Panda Cheer Up" is about Purple Panda having a morning where nothing goes right. His spaceship runs out of fuel, he loses Super Porcupine and he gets toothpaste on his toes. But with Donkey's help, he learns how to cheer himself up.
- Gage and Sydney from Walker, Texas Ranger lampshade this in Season 9's "Desperate Measures". On his way back to Dallas following a charity motorcycle ride, Gage's bike breaks down due to two thugs cutting off his drive belt and ends up hitching a ride with two escaped female convicts who dyed their hair to avoid being recognized, one of whom was innocent of a murder her ex-husband committed and the other was convicted for killing three men, who then decides to kill both Gage and the innocent inmate after they find out who he really is following a traffic stop. He succeeded in apprehending the female serial killer while the innocent party gets away in her uncle's pickup to find her son (only for them to end up being kidnapped by her ex-husband's henchmen). Gage was forced to flag down a civilian and borrow his cellphone so DPS can bring him back to Ranger HQ and take the serial killer back to Gatesville.
Sydney: I understand you had quite an interesting day.
Gage: (making coffee upon returning to HQ) Well, only if you call almost getting wasted by a female psycho serial killer interesting... yes, it was.
- Wizards of Waverly Place subverted this in the episode "Misfortune At The Beach", where Alex gets a fortune from a clairvoyant that says "say goodbye to your life" and spends the whole episode narrowly avoiding death. She has her fortune transferred to a different person and learns that saying goodbye to her life actually meant winning $1 million in prize money from a contest, which she subsequently lost out on.
- Several of the events in Alanis Morissette's "Isn't It Ironic?", such as the man who wins the lottery then dies the next day, and the free ride when you've already paid.
- Ace Attorney Investigations: Most of the game takes place over the course of one very bad day for Edgeworth. In chronological order, he faints due to airplane turbulence triggering his fear of earthquakes, discovers a body in an elevator (he's also uncomfortable around those), gets blamed for killing the guy, has to find the real culprit, lands only to find himself roped into a hostage situation, gets hit over the head, has to solve another murder, meets Wendy Oldbag and has to interrogate her (which he says turns it from this into a "waking nightmare"), and later enters his office to find that yet another guy has been killed there and he needs to investigate that.
- The Simpsons:
- In season 3 episode "Dog of Death", the dog needs an expensive operation, so the family cuts back on luxuries. This includes Lisa's monthly encyclopedia purchase—which happens to cover Copernicus, which turns out to be the subject for that week's report in school—Marge's weekly lottery ticket—so of course Marge's numbers come up right on cue—and new clothes for baby Maggie...who chooses just this week to have a growth spurt. This actually leaves the whole family angry at the dog for essentially robbing them of such good luck to the point he leaves, feeling unwanted.
- The entire first act of season 3's "Bart the Murderer" is this for Bart. It's a lovely day, Bart's homework is done, and he's going on a field trip to the chocolate factory. What Could Possibly Go Wrong? Everything. Santa's Little Helper eats Bart's homework, he misses the school bus and has to walk to school in the rain, arriving forty minutes late. He splits his pants on the monkey bars and gets a black eye from a football hitting him in the face. He suddenly realises he left his permission slip for the field trip at home, so he can't go. After spending the time licking envelopes instead, he leaves school, it starts raining again, he loses a wheel off his skateboard and finally has the Mafia pointing their guns in his face. Poor kid.
- Hey Arnold!: Oskar Kokoshka is usually bad at poker, but today he's so confident of his current poker hand, he's betting the baby he's babysitting... but his poker partners won't allow it, and leave. And it turns out to be a royal flush.
- The Proud Family: Dejenay wants to buy a soda because of a $50000 instant win sweepstakes going on. Penny Proud gives her a reason not to: "It's the difference between watching a movie, and watching Leave It To Beaver, without the sound." And it turns out that the bottle Dejenay was going to buy contained a $50k prize.
- Danger Mouse:
- When DM and Penfold help track down an alien's furry, prolific pet — a "tickle-o-hippus" — and constantly mess up doing so (episode "Multiplication Fable"), they each comment "This is not going to be my day."
- "The Bad Luck Eye Of The Little Yellow God" is all about this. The eye is a green gem that Greenback stole from a Brazilian tribe to power his bad luck ray, and DM steals it from him. As long as DM is in possession of it, he is befallen with bad luck. He strains a sinew trying to return the eye whether tribe wants it or not.
- In one episode of DuckTales (1987), Magica de Spell was able to curse the infamously lucky Gladstone Gander with bad luck — an agonizing experience for Gladstone and a cathartic experience for fans of the source material comics.
- Gladstone experiences this again in the 2017 reboot when the Phantom Blot strips him of his good luck. Since his good luck pretty much allowed him to coast through life with zero effort on his part, he had a near breakdown having to function without it. The crowning moment being near the end of the episode when he turns into Donald Duck, much to his horror.
- The little big-nosed man in The Pink Panther cartoon "Lucky Pink" is a would-be bank robber who finds a horseshoe. But contrary to tradition, it brings him nothing but bad luck. Every time he tries to get rid of the horseshoe, the Panther returns it to him, under the presumption that the guy is missing it.