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4:08pm on Saturday, 21st January, 2006:

Just the Ticket


I wasn't just being rude and cruel to people in the supermarket today, I was also shopping. That's the only reason I go there. Sometimes, though, things happen to stop me from buying stuff.

Here's a ticket:

At the delicatessen, you pick up one of these tickets and wait for your number to be called out, whereupon you're served. The machine that issues the tickets is very simple because, frankly, so are many of the people who use it. You take a ticket, you pull down on it, and it comes out in such a way as to reveal a new ticket for the next person to take.

Even this is too complicated for some people.

Some people will pull the ticket up, and remove their own ticket without exposing a great deal of the next one. Some people will pull the ticket to the side, and when the machine turns with it they'll thrash it about until eventually they get a raggedy scrunched-up ticket plus some of the next one. Some people try to pull the ticket out straight, and get several tickets. This occasionally causes them to panic and try to put them back inside the machine, thereby treating the next couple of people to tickets that look like concertinas.

This is what I saw today. An old woman goes up to the ticket machine, puts one hand on the ticket, another on top of the ticket machine, and then in some bizarre co-ordination mix-up snaps the ticket machine off its mounting instead of pulling the ticket out. Wrong hand, old woman, but impressive strength! I don't know if she got a ticket out of it, but I do know that a whole bunch of people had to have their tickets given out by hand while the senior member of the counter staff tried to fix the busted mounting. I was one such person (the above is a scan of my actual ticket), and I was delayed perhaps three whole minutes by the event. That meant being in the shop three whole minutes longer than I needed to be there.

You can probably guess from this that I'm not entirely enthusiastic about my weekly visits to Sainsbury's...

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Copyright © 2006 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).