Pretending to buy ‘goods’ from a pretend ‘shop’, then pretending to eat them before returning aforementioned pretend goods to the pretend shop and starting the process all over again is similar to being trapped in a never ending pit of darkness and despair, researchers have claimed.
The game, popular with pre-schoolers, has no beginning, middle or end. Instead it is a constant, relentless cycle of moving plastic from one place to another with no prospect or measure of success.
Dave ‘The Rave’ Davies from Winchester has been playing shopkeepers with his 4 year old son solidly for 182 hours. He said:
‘At first it seemed harmless. I ‘bought’ a few bits from my son’s ‘shop’ and he seemed happy enough.
But then he wanted me to buy some more things. And that’s when the cycle of despair really started to manifest itself.
Once I’d bought everything in his shop, and pretended to eat it, he told me to bring them all back and we started all over again.
There’s only so many times you can pretend to eat the same pink plastic macaroon before you start losing the will to live.’
Dave’s story is not an uncommon one, with parents up and down the country crawling around on their hands and knees to buy plastic things at the whim of their offspring.
But the effects on the unwitting participants have never previously been considered.
‘The human adult brain needs to complete tasks. It needs to feel that sense of achievement’, lead researcher Anil E Retentive explains.
‘With ‘shopkeepers’ there is no prospect of success.
Cycle of Doom
No one wins. Everyone loses. It’s a monotonous, meaningless cycle of doom.
And yet they cannot escape the cycle. They are a semi-willing participant in their own fake plastic misery.
Most parents, if they are allowed time off from shopkeeping at all, will lie awake at night dreaming of plastic sausages or furry grapes. It can be quite overwhelming.’
But don’t fear. If you feel that you may be falling into the unshakeable grip of worthlessness that playing ‘shopkeepers’ inevitably brings, help is available. A group has been set up for parents that can no longer see a way out.
Stand Up To Plastic Sausages can help parents with coping strategies, telephone support to help build back self esteem and even a rehab facility for those that need some time away from the shop floor.
You can show your support for those affected by the misery of playing shopkeepers by picking up an awareness badge from your local retailer?
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