I’ve invented a new sport, I just don’t have a name for it yet; but here are the rules:

  1. Pick a shop of some kind. Petrol station shops seem to work best. Night shifts are even better (but personally I think that’s cheating since everyone’s too tired).
  2. Buy something or somethings, doesn’t matter what so long as you make sure the total comes to more than a single note. (You know, it’s got to be five pound something or ten pound something … etc)
  3. Pay for the something (or somethings) with a single, higher denomination note. (Ten pound note for five pound something, twenty pound note for ten pound something … etc)
  4. After the person behind the till has rung in the amount and opened the cash drawer, offer them the exact change.
  5. Ask politely if that helps.
  6. Watch their head explode as they try to do simple arithmetic on the fly.

And that’s pretty much it. You score:

  • One point for every second it takes them to work it out.
  • Two points if they tell you the exact change doesn’t help or “it’s too late, I’ve rung it in now”. 
  • Five points if they have to consult a co-worker or a calculator.
  • Ten points if they have to consult a manager.

Plus, you get a bonus five points for every pound you receive which is over the correct amount of change.

I walked away with an extra twenty pounds once.

Mind you, I invented the sport and am verging on going pro.

My triumph to date (and actually an unintentional match) was at the O2 whilst watching Bon ‘Jazz Hands’ Jovi. After laughing myself sick for the best part of half an hour* I decided it would be a good idea to get Mandy some booze before she killed me. She had that look, you know, that one which tells me laughing at the musicians instead of dancing wasn’t a good plan. So I scurried out and bought an apology beer.


A lot, I thought, but okay. Here’s ten pounds.

She rings it in … but has no change.

No problem, says I. Fumbling about in my pocket and discovering I did actually have the correct money.

So now she has a ten pound note in one hand and four pounds fifty in the other. The total is four pounds fifty … and she had to call a manager over to explain how much she needed to give back.

And then argued because the till said five pounds fifty.

For the best part of five minutes.

I got the impression I would still be there now if the manager hadn’t sworn, snatched the tenner out of her hand and given me it back.

284 points in one go!

Finally, a sport I can actually play.


*Seriously, they’re hilarious … for a while. It’s a bit like watching Ben Stiller’s version of Spinal Tap. Hysterical but with no subtlety or depth so it quickly wears thin. I swear to any God people care to invent, Jon Bon Jovi, the tiny, perfectly coiffured, hairless and magnificently toothy rocker, dances like Carlton and performs ‘Jazz Hands’ for the audience. It’s like watching Don ‘No Soul’ Simmons writ large.

Categories: My Way, Sad Bastard, Someone Else's Way | 9 Comments

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9 thoughts on “Sports

  1. I am a Regional Champion at aforementioned sport. I often play the Timms Variation, which involves offering a *similar* amount but not *exact* amount of change. Example: cost of goods £5.62, hand over a tenner, then offer 65 new pence “if it helps”.

    I usually take along a good paperback so I can catch up on my reading while they work it out.

    • Awesome, we should arrange a match!

      Except … maybe not. Other people are bound to want to join in and before long it will get so complicated we’ll have to draw up a league table. Then people will start squabbling about the rules, so we’ll have to start up an association. Then Sky will get interested and pump millions into the sport. You and me will become instantly rich, which will attract drugs and loose women (the prostitute variety, not the TV hosts) and that spells the end of any morals we may have had. Soon we’ll be knee deep in hookers, snorting coke off specially shaved monkeys. Then comes the Mafia, could we just throw one match? Oh go on, please? Pretty please? Pretty please or we break your kneecaps? Assuming they can find our knees amidst the aforementioned hookers. Before long we’re broke, strung out, washed up and turning tricks for frustrated dentists in Hyde Park. Before long, one of us will kill the other for food. I’ll give you a tip, it’ll be me killing you – I have a low hunger threshold and a propensity for violence. I don’t want to kill you, Laurence; so let’s just avoid the whole mess by nipping it in the bid right now.

      Sorry, but no matter what, we must never meet.

      Which is a long winded way of saying your rules scare me – I can’t do that kind of maths in my head.

      • But don’t you see how utterly perfect this is? We just form two leagues. You take the Southern Hemisphere, I’ll take the North. The slow-witted Australians will immediately warm to your admittedly simple rules and you’ll get a following in no time. I’ll take my rules on some kind of International Roadshow around the Eurozone. After all, they’re already used to working out exchange rates in their heads in order to find out how much they’re being ripped off as a result of swapping their real money for comedy Euros.

        Then we’ll arrange a World Championship, country versus country, hemisphere versus hemisphere. One side will inevitably bankrupt the other with crafty money shenanigans (clue: it’ll be those smart Eurozone teams). That’ll lead to economic collapse, the decay of society, local skirmishes and, within a month or two, a state of total global war.

        Meantime I’ll have brought an island in the mid-Pacific. I’m a nice chap; I’ll split it down the middle. You can have one side, I’ll take the other.

        Then we can start civilisation all over again.

  2. Pingback: Sports « The Jobbing Scriptwriter | Scott Ashjian Sports News

  3. Here in the wild west, we’ve been playing this game at for quite some time – unfortunately the shop keepers have got wise to it, so I can usually only score 2 points a time … although I did get ten quid in change the year before last, when I wasn’t expecting any change at all!

    … No. I am not female. Don’t even ask.

    And, the Pacific? Are you sure? … Tsunami?
    Goood luck with that!

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