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* 200 articles. Two years. Whelk. The best of Upsideclown. Might be reprinted.

Fastscan masterplan

23 September 2002
Victor's supermarket sweep

On my most recent visit to Waitbury's my attention was drawn to a peculiar innovation. In the entrance lobby, after the trolleys but before the baskets and news- stand, rows of neat green gadgets rested in sleek acrylic holsters. They were in the "public area", clearly intended for customer use. This implied that they could only be marvellous labour- and time-saving devices. I perused the adjacent placard:

"Fastscan is the quick and easy way to shop at Waitbury's. Simply scan the barcode on products you wish to buy using your own scanner. Your scanner will show a running total of what you have spent, and when you have finished just pay and go - there is no need to queue at the checkouts. You can save even more time if you use your credit or debit card using our Fastpay service."

Blinded by science I reached for a scanner, and promptly zapped away. By the time I arrived at my dedicated checkout I had spent much more than I had expected to. Bravo, Waitbury's:

SEMI-SKIMMED MILK ... 0.56

SOUP CHKN MLGTWNY ... 1.99

TERRACUSTY CARAMEL ... 0.99

DDC CHOCOLATE DREAM ... 0.99

BAHLSEN AFRIKA BISC ... 1.69

YOG VANNILA ORG ... 1.29

HZ BAKED BEANS ... 0.36

RED PESTO SAUCE ... 1.49

GNOCCHI CON PATATE ... 1.19

P/EXPRESS AMERICAN ... 3.49

SAVOURY BITES ... 1.19

LEEKS 0.365kg @ 1.99/kg ... 0.73

FIGS FRESH ... 0.99

CARROTS 0.265kg @ 0.48/kg ... 0.13

CARAMBOLA ... 0.89

BROCCOLI 0.340kg @ 1.25/kg ... 0.43

16 ITEMS ... BALANCE DUE £18.40

Overall I was thrilled by the experience. I wondered, would this gizmo work on items outside the confines of the supermarket? In a CCTV blind spot I slipped the Fastscan into my handbag.

Back at home I tried out my new toy at random. I wasn't too surprised that it worked on electrical items -

DUALIT TSTR ... 179.00

MRPHY RCHD KETTLE ... 49.99

2 ITEMS ... BALANCE DUE £228.99

They were, after all, streaked with barcodes. I didn't expect it to work on more organic fittings, e.g. in the living room:

STRCTRL WORK ... 1785.00

PAINT DULUX MGNOL 6 tins @ 9.95/tin ... 59.70

NANCY CRTN FABRIC 5m @ 5/m ... 25.00

MUJI SOFA ... 200.00

IKEA LIGHTING ... 29.00

SONY 14" TV ... 89.99

CAST-OFF LTHR ARMCHAIR ... 0.00

CAST-OFF COFFEE TBL ... 0.00

CAST-OFF DRWRS ... 0.00

PHOTOGRAPHS ... sentimental

10 ITEMS ... BALANCE DUE £2188.69 (and the rest)

Impressed by Fastscan's exposure of my inferior brand of paint I decided to take it out with me that evening. I notched up subtotals and single items at a local loft party, e.g.

EX-INDSTRL UNIT 2 BED UNFURN ... 295,000.00

BRIT ART PEN & INK DRWNG ... 4750.00

BRIT ART ARTIST ... over-rated

CITY LIVING ... worthless

4 ITEMS ... BALANCE DUE £299,750

and

D&G SUIT BLK 2PC ... 2000.00

JIMMY CHOO DIAMANTE ... 350.00

TAN ... bottle

BLONDE HAIR ... bottle

BREASTS ... fake

SCOWL ... priceless

6 ITEMS ... BALANCE DUE £2350.00

Mmm, no knickers. Where was the barcode on her, I wonder? Thoroughly impressed with Fastscan's ability to strip skin and pretence I turned the reader on myself:

DEAD AUNT'S CLTHS ... 0.00

SKINCR REGIME ... 0.00

HAIR ... ?

ETHICS ... none

4 ITEMS ... BALANCE DUE £0.00

THANK YOU FOR SHOPPING AT WAITBURY'S

PLEASE CALL AGAIN

 

 
This is the fucking archive

Current clown:

18 December 2003. George writes: This List

Most recent ten:

15 December 2003. Jamie writes: Seven Songs
11 December 2003. Dan writes: Spinning Jenny
8 December 2003. Victor writes: Rock Opera
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27 November 2003. James writes: On Boxing
24 November 2003. Jamie writes: El Matador del Amor; Or, the Man who Killed Love
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(And alas we lost Neil, who last wrote Cockfosters)

Also by this clown:

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15 September 2003. Victor writes: You got any ID?
25 August 2003. Victor writes: Blood on the Boulevard
4 August 2003. Victor writes: In (paren)theses
10 July 2003. Victor writes: Island Fling
19 June 2003. Victor writes: Back (back) and forth (and forth)
2 June 2003. Victor writes: 300 clowns, 13 eight-year olds
12 May 2003. Victor writes: The swings and roundabouts of outrageous fortune
21 April 2003. Victor writes: ...just sitting there quietly contemplating suicide
31 March 2003. Victor writes: Victoria
6 March 2003. Victor writes: Relevant experience
17 February 2003. Victor writes: You will eat chips and go nowhere
27 January 2003. Victor writes: A bushy fish for fishy Mr Bush (after Juvenal)
6 January 2003. Victor writes: The Accidental Voyeur
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25 November 2002. Victor writes: Bediquette
4 November 2002. Victor writes: Where have all the spastics gone?
14 October 2002. Victor writes: An Immodest Proposal
23 September 2002. Victor writes: Fastscan masterplan
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12 August 2002. Victor writes: Beat the Mongol
22 July 2002. Victor writes: What life is not
1 July 2002. Victor writes: Stupor heroes
6 June 2002. Victor writes: Dry
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18 April 2002. Victor writes: gingermingeninja
25 March 2002. Victor writes: Sodomize with Pukka Pies
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10 January 2002. Victor writes: Here come the decorator gimps.
17 December 2001. Victor writes: Make war, not supper.
22 November 2001. Victor writes: Cough
29 October 2001. Victor writes: vbarnesinstruments.com
4 October 2001. Victor writes: Green Gauges
10 September 2001. Victor writes: Blind weed
16 August 2001. Victor writes: Snout!
23 July 2001. Victor writes: You're not going to put this in a clown are you?
28 June 2001. Victor writes: What is a droll?
4 June 2001. Victor writes: Burt Pakamak
10 May 2001. Victor writes: Board to Death
12 April 2001. Victor writes: Tricolon with anaphora?
22 March 2001. Victor writes: Point of View
26 February 2001. Victor writes: Goth's Dinner
1 Feburary 2001. Victor writes: Les Miserables
4 January 2001. Victor writes: Flat-packed furniture
14 December 2000. Victor writes: Deliverance
20 November 2000. Victor writes: Bottomry: Exorcising Ghosts
26 October 2000. Victor writes: Body Art
2 October 2000. Victor writes: Disney must die
7 September 2000. Victor writes: Ice-cream in Offworld
14 August 2000. Victor writes: I like sweets that taste of medicine
26 June 2000. Victor writes: I've seen the future, and it's feathered

 
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