Games to Play In a Queue at a Supermarket Checkout Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

Games to Play In a Queue at a Supermarket Checkout

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Having finally trundled around the supermarket, gone through the arduous process of trying to find the best checkout, one finally joins the chosen queue, then waits... and waits... and waits.

Waiting is not always the most exciting of activities, in fact, one might even say that it's a thoroughly dull thing to do. So what better way to liven it up than to create competitive games to pass the time. Here are a few suggestions.

Checkout Chicken

On arriving at the checkout there will often be someone in front of you. If there isn't then you can breeze on through and try an alternative game such as Checkout Chatter. Anyway, for Checkout Chicken it is imperative to have someone in front with goods on the conveyer belt. It's even better if they have someone with them as that person will be doing the packing and therefore the first person can only stand around and wait to pay.

Normally on arriving at the checkout and finding someone else's goods in front, it is deemed good manners to place the little divider thing at the back of their goods. This then allows the checkout operator with a means by which to discriminate between the goods of the two purchasers. However, with Checkout Chicken, you must avoid placing the divider in between their goods and yours. You should just start unpiling your goods onto the conveyor belt.

As time passes and tension builds, your goods edge closer to the cashier, you start to believe that your goods are about to become part of those of the person in front, and that you are about to cause untold chaos and havoc at the checkout. In the meantime, the person in front may have noticed that there is no divider and will begin to become quite worried too.

To win at Checkout Chicken you just have to be the one who does not put the divider thing on the conveyor belt. Sometimes the person in front just plain and simple doesn't notice, which means you're playing on your own and cannot conceivably win. Unless you're a hardened player this'll certainly screw your nerves up. Other times, your 'opponent' will dive straight in there and you'll get an easy win. On rare occasions you both keep your nerve and they end up buying half your stuff, although not necessarily for you!

The best part about 'checkout chicken' is you get to play twice on every trip, once with the person in front and once with the person behind. An opportunity for instant redemption should you have failed on your first try.

Checkout Chatter

This is a game best played on a weekday evening, when the younger members of the working population have taken over on their part-time shifts.

The aim of the game is simply to try and get them to talk to you. Sounds easy, doesn't it? But give it a try when you've got a bored 17-year old in front of you, who can't wait to get out of the place and has little else on their mind beyond which pub their mates are going to be in and whether they're the only person still waiting to lose their virginity.

Of course, there is some standard information that they're programmed to say for example, 'Hello', 'Do you have a loyalty card?', 'That'll be £5.63, please', 'Would you like cash back with that' and 'Goodbye'. But anything beyond that can certainly become a tribulation.

Some recommended lines to try are:

  • 'Has it been busy today?' (also useful when playing Cabbie Chatter)

  • 'What are you doing later?' (although this can be misinterpreted)

  • 'Is the price of bread always so cheap?'

You win if you can manage to get them to hold a decent conversation with you. As you improve you may choose to handicap yourself by disallowing certain subjects eg, what 'A' levels1 they are studying or how many hours they have left to work on their shift.

Checkout Patience

Unpile all your goods onto the conveyor belt and wait until the operator starts putting them through. As they near the end, dive off down the nearest aisle muttering something about needing to buy cat food or whatever. Then spend your time hiding away from the checkout and see how long you can last out.

If you return to find all your goods have been cleared, you are instantly disqualified otherwise your time counts. You can look to set new personal bests, or if you have a friend you can play at the same time although finding checkouts which are near each other may be difficult.

Checkout Control

A game best played when still pre-pubescent. All you have to do is keep the conveyor belt moving. Usually there will be a light beam across the end of it that stops the belt once an item breaks it. Therefore all you have to do is pick up the item just before it gets there and place it back at the other end. Hours of entertainment that only ends when the operator gets to the item before you and swipes it through.

1'A' levels are further education examinations normally taken after two years' of study by 17 or 18-year olds.

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