Tagged The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games

In the dystopian, post-apocalyptic nation of ‘Tesco’, Mumniss Evertired is chosen to compete in the Hunger Games. Participants (‘Tributes’) in the Games are selected from the ranks of parents who forgot to put in the online food shop order, and now have nothing in for tea. They must fight to the death to obtain the supermarket shop with toddlers in tow. The winning Tribute is rewarded by leaving the shop with actual food and the same number of children they entered with. The purpose of the Hunger Games is to provide entertainment for childless shoppers, and to punish parents for failing to conform to the system of the online shop.

At the start of the Games, Mumniss is introduced to her mentor, a past victor of the Games, and now a grandmother. The elderly mentor offers advice and guidance to Mumniss: ‘You’ve got your hands full!’ Tributes recognise the importance of collecting free fruit at the start of the Games, to provide as gifts to placate the toddlers as the Games progress. The toddlers must not leave the shopping trolley at any point. Certain doom awaits any Tribute whose toddlers succeed in escaping the confines of the trolleys.

As the Games begin, many Tributes do not survive the first aisle. Their toddlers declare that they now hate apples, oranges and bananas, and throw themselves on the floor, refusing to proceed unless they are allowed to eat cheesecake in the trolley instead. With these weakest Tributes dying of shame, Mumniss, and the other Tributes who succeeded in this first challenge of pleasing the toddlers with offers of free apples, proceed into the dangerous territory of the ‘chilly, too cold, don’t like it, I’M COOOOOLLD’ aisles. Mumniss successfully navigates this treacherous terrain by employing the dual strategies of bribing the toddlers with promises of toys, and declaring the entire family to now be vegans, thus allowing virtually the whole chilled foods section to be skipped.

Mumniss makes a near fatal strategic error in moving too swiftly to the bribery portion of the Games, providing the toddlers with toys and treats with well over half the contest still remaining. Mumniss faces disaster in the lentils and pulses aisle (vegans now), when it becomes apparent there is nowhere left to go in the bribery stakes but to offer the toddlers a car in exchange for their compliance. Mumniss realises that survival in the Hunger Games requires backstabbing ruthlessness. Promise whatever you have to, with no intention of keeping that promise.

Tributes form alliances with each other, but these are treacherous and short lived. It is each mum for herself. Tributes quickly realise that a major meltdown from another Tribute’s toddlers can stun your own into much needed submission. There are gains to be made from selling out your fellow contestants and encouraging tantrums amongst their offspring. By this stage, all the Tributes are battle hardened. They step over the bodies of their fallen comrades in the crisps aisle.

The most dangerous time is yet to come for Mumniss. She must navigate the sweets and chocolate aisle. Here Mumniss goes rogue. She makes a controversial decision to take the path of least resistance, and throws packets of sweets and chocolate (not THAT vegan) at the surprised toddlers before they can even begin to organise a sustained attack of whining. It’s a calculated risk. The move will be unpopular with the Heads of the Games. Tributes are supposed to maintain an organic, superfoods trolley throughout. Mumniss just wants to reach the tills.

The tills are in sight and Mumniss has almost made it. Only one other Tribute remains. As they race to the checkout, the cruel and callous Game Heads have one last trick. They release wild toddlers into the shop. As the feral infants tear through the aisles, grabbing items from the shelves with abandon, Mumniss desperately tries to prevent her own toddlers from joining them. She sees her last chance and seizes it: ‘If you just sit down and be quiet, you can go on Gaston the Ladybird when we’ve got through the checkout!’ Mumniss holds her breath. There is silence. First one toddler, then the other, sits down. The other Tribute has failed. He is knocked to his knees as his own children race to join the wild beasts in the magazine aisle. Mumniss throws her shopping onto the conveyor belt.

Mumniss is crowned the winner of the 3824518954th Hunger Games. She can return to her now vegan home. But the Games continue. There are always parents who forgot to do the online shop.

May the odds be ever in your favour.

 
 
 
 

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