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The Slice: Call it black-eye Friday?

Fri., Nov. 23, 2012, midnight

The penalties in shopping are a modified amalgam of rules in several other contact sports.

Let’s review.

The names of a number of shopping penalties are borrowed from ice hockey.

“Butt ending”: In hockey, this refers to jabbing an opponent with the top of your stick. But in shopping, that describes an infraction where the shopper uses his or her backside and haunches to block another person’s access to a clothing rack.

“Elbowing”: Means the same in both hockey and shopping.

“Checking from behind”: Whistled when a player rams into a defenseless opponent from behind. Same in shopping.

“Slashing”: In hockey, this refers to illegal use of the stick blade. In shopping, it pertains to swinging a purse or clothes hanger.

“Boarding”: In hockey, this is called when a player collides with an opponent in such a way as to throw him or her violently against the boards. In shopping, boarding is called when one shopper literally climbs on top of another to reach a sale item displayed on a high shelf.

Some shopping penalties borrowed their names from football.

“Encroachment”: In shopping, this can be called when a consumer tries to get the attention of a clerk who is busy helping someone else.

“Blocking below the waist”: This means the same in both football and shopping.

“Face masking”: Same in both.

“Illegal shift”: In shopping, this can be called when someone running into the store the instant the doors open suddenly veers off at an angle causing mayhem in the herd.

“Personal foul”: Means the same in football and shopping.

Two more. In lacrosse, “warding off” refers to a player in possession of the ball using his or her free hand or arm to hold an opponent’s stick. In shopping, it describes holding out your arm to keep someone from passing you on the way to a checkout line.

In wrestling, grabbing an opponent’s privates would be considered an “illegal hold.” That is also a violation in shopping, though it is up to the store manager whether to assess a penalty or simply demand that the offending shopper let go.

Today’s Slice question: Ever felt like you live on the Island of Misfit Toys?

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