Just came across this piece of work in today's newspaper, where the columnist's idea of amusement is to make a sport out of pretending to be confused about the self-checkouts at the supermarket, wasting the assistant's time and patience under the excuse of old age. Simply despicable behavior for someone who should damn well know better.
MY latest hobby is being confused about automatic checkout registers down at the supermarket with all the other old guys. Actually, it’s more than a hobby. It’s practically a sport. There are two ways to play: competitive or recreational.
I prefer competitive, because recreational is mostly reserved for the really age-advanced who sometimes struggle to remember the score.
The aim is to gain the highest number of store assistant visits to your particular machine. The other day, for example, I was looking good on four visits — mostly for inexplicable baggage zone violations — when a rival oldster suddenly hit the jackpot.
He’d forgotten the name of a certain vegetable he wanted to purchase and therefore couldn’t look it up on his machine’s produce list.
This resulted in three separate assistant visits as between them they struggled to locate the mysterious item.
“It’s some kind of onion. A fancy onion,” the man ventured, leading to the eventual detection of an onion sub-menu. A few more screen taps and the magic word “shallots” finally appeared.
Scores are kept according to a strict honour system, because otherwise it would be too easy to game the process by feigning incompetence and drawing easy visits. There is no room for underhanded shenanigans in the Checkout Confusion caper.
It’s important, too, to play at the appropriate level. I’ve learned from bitter experience not to compete with Checkout Confusion champions.
They will wipe the floor with you, and also any milk or prune juice they happen to drop.
It’s easy to tell if a genuine champ is in the vicinity. Just observe the assistants’ expressions.
If they look especially harried and furious, a master is at work. In those circumstances I generally just keep shopping until things calm down and my own substandard blundering is ready for display. The really great thing about this sport is that you’re absolutely certain to get better at it with age, at least until you hit the recreational level. Those guys just can’t keep up with progress.