Fun with barcodes, possibly illegal

* My friend taught me this trick. You get a barcode for, say, Apple Inc from the Internet and glue it on a can of beans at your supermarket. Then wait to see the cashier's face when she scans the can and finds out the price is US$530 billion.

I thought about this but ultimately decided that it would not work at my supermarket.

Prices at ParknShop are marked up so high that US$530 billion for a can of beans sounds about right.


In the summer I went to one of those new do-it-yourself supermarkets in Britain where customers use the barcode scanner themselves to zap their own purchases.

I zapped several hairy body-parts and the machine could not give me a price, but it seemed to think my left forearm was made by Kellogg's.

I had a sudden urge to take the scanning gun to the zoo to zap the zebras and tigers, which must surely cost a fortune.

*** Zoos are on my mind after a reader sent me a news report about one in China which is struggling with an infestation of dancing grannies.

Since time immemorial, old folk in China have gathered to do elegant tai chi movements to the sound of birdsong.

But these days, scary, intimidating gangs of older women do line dances to boomboxes playing music so bad elevators would hang their heads in shame.


I once woke early in Shanghai and found a mixed group of octogenarians doing the lambada outside my hotel. It was the most disturbing thing I'd ever seen, NOT discounting the time my dog swallowed a bone whole and ejected it out the other end, still whole.


The report said that dancing grannies banned from public spaces in Nanjing have colonized Hongshan zoo and are traumatizing the giant pandas and giraffes.


Why are these elderly ladies exercising so militantly? I think they're planning a global takeover. This would be good.

If grannies ran the world, wars would be replaced by chicken soup contests.

There'd be no traffic accidents since everyone would have to drive at 20 kilometers an hour with their left indicator on.

And there would be no disorderly conduct, since we'd all be too embarrassed to step out in our shapeless, hand-knitted jumpers.

But mostly, the world would be filled with love. Everyone loves grannies, with the exception of animals at Hongshan zoo.


Random thought: if you can read zebras with a barcode scanner, can you read leopards with a QR (spotty barcode) reader?

I would check for you, but it's hard to "borrow" a scanning gun from a scan-it-yourself supermarket because there are security sensors everywhere.

This could be problematic for people like me who scan their own body parts for fun.

"But sir, I did not pay for these hairy legs because I brought them into the store myself, honest. Even if the machine does say they are made by Kellogg's."