5 Fun Things To Do At Markets

Being stuck at the market can provoke a level of boredom that only Dante could fathom. Rather than cursing the world with a three volume hellbook, try spicing up your relationship with the marketplace with the handcuffs and strap-ons of creativity.

Step One: Wear a practical yet stylish chapeau

Just The Facts

  1. Spend all the change in your pocket
  2. Hide and seek, obviously
  3. Bargain obliviously with the cashier
  4. Pay with nonlegal tender
  5. Impossible Object Safari with your host, Underpaid Wage Slave!

1. Spend all the change in your pocket

This game is especially good for college students, hobos, leprechauns, or any other individual who carries copious amounts of jingly change.

The Rules

Spend all the change in one's pocket, to the penny. Don't forget to include tax! Buying multiples of the same object is verboten, cheating, and marks you as the lazy unoriginal slob you probably are.

Buying multiple Hostess products is also verboten.

Bonus Round

Set ridiculously restrictive categories, for example: shiny pink things that a straight man would own without it being a present from his girlfriend or dying grandmother. (Hint: vaginas cannot be found in most markets. Better luck next time.)

The Downside

Requires math skills. Also, forcing a wage slave to count out $15.23 in small change was outlawed by the Geneva Convention of 1949.

Purchasing a cucumber, Her Pleasure KY Jelly, and a carton of BBs says things about your lifestyle that you may or may not want to express.

2. Hide and seek, obviously

This game can go on for hours, depending on the size of the market and the vigilance of any tight-ass salespeople who may be wandering around.

The Rules

In case you grew up in a country where hiding from parents/older siblings/guerilla soldiers was not a basic necessity of life, the rules are as follows:

1) Person A hides.

2) Person B "seeks", or attempts to locate Person A.

Local variations may include some kind of corporal punishment for being a crappy hider.

Spock loses.

Bonus Round

Involve the community. Start a search party. Find your LSD-laced breads in aisle 5 and start a witch hunt. The possibilities are endless!

The Downside

This is a really good game for ditching people you hate. Sucks to be you if you're the person everyone hates, Karen.

3. Bargain obliviously with the cashier

In this game, regular bargaining hits Sudden Death Round.

The Rules

This game requires a sublime combination of finesse, a straight face, and willingness to possibly get slapped in the face. Ready?

When the cashier announces your total, present her with a cash amount significantly smaller than the total. It is not enough to give her two dollars for that six-layer Bavarian custard pecan cake handmade by elves. No, you must announce your generous contribution with the precise blend of solemnity, earnestness, and the tiniest bit of pride: "Here's two dollars!"

The cashier will then look at you like you are a brain-damaged sea slug and demand the rest of the total. At this point, retrieve your money from them and count it carefully, as though wondering where you could have erred. Oh well, an honest mistake.

Finish counting once or twice, nod with satisfaction, and then hand back your money as though the problem has been remedied: "Here's two dollars!"

Rinse and repeat.

Bonus Round

When you count your cash again, do it very slowly and with a horribly confused expression.

Learn from the master.

Then hit yourself on the head as it dawns on you what the problem is and give the cashier an extra penny.

The Downside

None really. Just leave before she calls security.

4. Pay with nonlegal tender

This only works in regions where the barter system has been replaced with more capitalistic and Visa-friendly trade practices.

The Rules

Rather self-explanatory. Simply attempt to pay for your purchase with an object not considered legal tender in whatever society you are functioning (or attempting to function) in, be it a potato, a live turtle, or a gold statue of William Shatner. Asking if the vendor accepts your currency is also encouraged: "Do you accept Mastercard? No? How about raccoon?"

Bonus Round

Unshell something that could have once been considered currency. When your tobacco leaves/cowrie shells/scalps are refused make a scene about discrimination against native peoples.

The Downside

Make sure you are actually willing to part with your currency, because no one in their right mind will refuse a five-dollar bill from the treasury of Fluffy.

Five-dollar Fuzzy Wuffikins note

5. Impossible Object Safari, with your host, Underpaid Wage Slave!

With the advent of the supercenter it is becoming evermore possible to find that implausibly esoteric object with relatively little effort. However, with a little effort, you too can be a thwarter of supply and demand principles!

The Rules

Walk up to a particularly bored or clueless looking salesperson and ask for some random object or store section: "Excuse me, can you show me where the flat screen HD heart monitors are?" For added frustration, ask for something plausible but unlikely to be located: "Do you have any bed sheets with surfing ninja penguins on them?" This latter response might point you toward Surf's Up merchandise (in the "where Dreamworks characters go to die at 50% off" section), to which you should ideally respond, "No no, I specifically need ninja penguins." Make sure a child's happiness hangs in the balance.

Bonus Round

Pick a newbie salesperson and preface your response with "I used to work here but everything's changed since I left. Can you show me where the chainsaw juggling sets were moved to?"

The Downside

Some people will argue that toying with impressionable wage slaves and market forces is cruel and irresponsible. Those people are the kinds of people who think that "A Night With Wagner" at the community symphony sounds like a good time.