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pack of poo tickets

a mess; something in a state of chaos; randomly thrown together: This room is a pack of poo tickets.

Editor's comments: We are very intersted in this term, so any information you can supply would be great. Some references we have found say that a "pack of poo tickets" mean toilet paper. Can anyone confirm this? In origin this phrase comes from the term "pakapoo ticket", which was a ticket written with Chinese characters, and thus inscrutably confusing to Western eyes. These tickets were part of a Chinese gambling game called "pakapoo". In Cantonese "pa-ka-pu" literally means "white pigeon ticket", because originally the winning ticket was selected by a trained white pigeon.

Contributor's comments: [Sydney informant] packapooticket: mother used it when we were kids: "Go clean your room it looks like a packapooticket."

Contributor's comments: Hi Everyone... I was the person who sent in this regionalism and have just read the entry of the first time.... thanks for putting it in ... very interested in the Chinese usage... thanks again.

Contributor's comments: I first heard the term 'pakapoo ticket' while working in an adminsitrative office in Brisbane in the mid 1970s. It was used by one of the older hands to describe a particularly untidy piece of handwriting. In the early 1990s in Brisbane I heard a workmate (formerly from the NSW Central Coast) use the term 'pack of poo tickets' about a messy set of historical administrative records. I had previously heard the expression 'pakapoo ticket', and I assumed that he had simply misheard that expression. (He used it in the same context where 'pakapoo ticket' would have been appropriate.)

Contributor's comments: My late Mother-in-law always used this term for any area that was in a 'mess'. I have always believed that a it came from the Chinese Opium Dens which were known as Pak-a-poo Dens and one need a ticket to enter, and they were always a mess. Mutti, used to say - your room looks like a Pak-a-poo den!

Contributor's comments: The only time I ever heard this expression was when I was from a proofreader who worked at The Sydney Morning Herald. He used it regularly, but I don't know his background. I always thought it was a funny expression but had no idea of its origin. Thanks for shedding light on that for me.

Contributor's comments: As a young man I first heard the term as a slang equivalent to a poor hand of cards. 'This hand is a packapoo ticket', sometimes shortened to just 'packapoo!'

Contributor's comments: This was in use around Kalgoorlie in the 1950s. In the sense of an 'orrible mess, not just in ones room either.

Contributor's comments: My mother used "packapoo ticket" in reference to a mess. I'm sure it would have been from her early years around Maroubra in Sydney.

Contributor's comments: I can remenber this term from 50 years ago, but always in the form "as untidy as a pakapoo ticket". I always understood it referred to a Chinese gambling game, but I have to admit I have not used the term or heard it used for quite a long time.

Contributor's comments: For many years I have studied the origins of words and place names and my own impression re Pakapoo is as follows: Whilst toilet paper does (in certain forms) come in "tickets", it is far more likely that the origin of this expression is from pa-ka-pu as the correct usage of the expression refers to one ticket and not many. "Your room looks like a pa-ka-pu ticket" is a good example of this. The addition of multiples [pile of] no doubt comes from the lack of source/origin understanding. The expression is, in my opinion, undoubtedly from the Chinese game.

Contributor's comments: I am commenting on this word because I was really surprised to see that you have it mapped only for Brisbane. I remember it clearly from my childhood in Sydney (1940s-50s). Pronounced as 'pakapoo' rather than 'pack of poo' (there was no implication of 'poo'). I don't remember it being used for physical untidyness, eg a messy room, as the published informant's comment says. Rather my memory is that it was used to mean unintelligible / confusing as in 'that's clear as a pakapoo ticket' - meaning not clear at all. I think I believed that 'pakapoo' was a made up nonsense word, but I do remember the word ticket being attached to it. Anyway, it was many years later that I learnt of the Chinese origin, this in spite of the fact that one of my best friends at the time was Chinese (an ABC).

Contributor's comments: My father's family was originally from Cloncurry and have always used the term to describe something that was not only confusing and or in a mess but also somethng that was of not much use in a given situation "about as much use as a pack of poo tickets in a public pool".

Contributor's comments: I first came across this phrase when I was serving in the Australian Army in the 60s .. I am sure that it probably goes back a lot further than that as my father, a WWII soldier, knew the phrase as well .. I would think the spelling is more like packapoo ticket without the accent on the "poo" being so obvious.

Contributor's comments: I have heard this expression, but used differently. I have heard it being used to describe something as worthless or useless, such as "useless as a packet of poo tickets". I always assumed that "poo tickets" was loo paper, so it could be insulting to call a person "as useless as a packet of poo tickets".

Contributor's comments: My Father used this phrase to mean anything that was not clear or was a mess .. I also came across it when I was serving in the Army during the 60s .. I have aIways thought of it as military slang .. must say that I can't remember it having wide usage amongst the general population.