Deli Counter Meets Balloon Entertainment

Deli Ticket“Number 24” yells the woman behind the deli counter. I look at my ticket, 53. It is going to be a while. I might as well do some shopping and come back later. 

It does not matter how long you stand in line or where you stand, the next number is 25.  You cannot push your way to the front, sneak in from the side, and if the ticket machine runs out, you are done.

Some balloon entertainers who do line twisting are using the deli counter ticket dispenser to control their lines.  I personally have never used this technique, but it does fascinate me.

All my life, at the deli counter, I have needed to have a ticket to be served. I have never questioned the process; I just did what everyone else did.

I cannot remember a time that people fought at a deli counter about who was next, or how much a person ordered.  All I knew was that it was their turn, and my turn was coming; I just needed to wait patiently.

The possibility of reducing line stress by a simple ticket-dispensing machine sounds great for busking, fairs, or events where you have multiple twisters and where time is not an issue.

My concern is how to control the number of tickets dispensed.  I can see how many people are standing in line and adjust my speed and design, and can cut a line off, based on what I see.

Benefits I see are

  • how many people were given a balloon or served
  • there is no physical line
  • there is no cutting in line
  • you can entertain a group of people
  • the stress of a parent standing in line with a child is reduced or eliminated
  • when you remove the ticket dispenser, you are technically closed

There is no perfect solution, but this does solve a difficult problem of line control for balloon entertainers.

Issues that do come to mind would be

  • you have more equipment to haul
  • you need to reload the tickets dispenser
  • controlling the number of tickets dispense
  • litter from used tickets

I am sure with some thought, practice, and creativity the deli ticket dispenser works.  If I did a lot of line twisting, this would be a tool I would invest in and use.

Alternative ticket dispensing solutions are

  • use balloons or scraps
  • write a number on the child’s hand
  • pass out cards


2 thoughts on “Deli Counter Meets Balloon Entertainment”

  1. I use tickets the last hour but i guess i could use them the entire time.
    the last hour the amount you think you can make is given out and the last person or better yet someone with the organization will turn folks away. they are the bad guy not me the entertainer.

  2. I’ve considered the plastic number cards. They’re recyclable and won’t litter the ground. A collegue uses the paper tickets and loves them. No line, no arguments over who’s next and she only gives out enough tickets for the time she’s scheduled. Sounds like a great way to handle a crowd!

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