There are three supermarkets within equal distance from my house, and any one of them would suffice for today's wants (hibiscus nose ointment, anti-badger netting, and pickled beetroot flavoured yoghurt, if you are interested)
However they are a bit busy since this infernal lockdown means they only
allow a certain number of people in at any one time.
3 weeks ago when this whole thing kicked off one of them posted an update to social media, indicating the busy and quiet times of day at the shop. I went at an advertised quiet time and indeed it was quiet.
However this was manually generated, and has not been updated since, and all the other shoppers have obviously been reading the same diagram, because today at the advertised quiet time, the shoppers were queued around the block to be let in.
No, the chart needs to be updated live.
This would help smooth demand in normal times, too. A lot of people would happily go shopping at a quiet time, to the quietest shop, allowing things to run more smoothly, increase shop throughput, smooth demand, and generally make the world a happier and nicer place.
Proposed is a device, manufactured, supplied, distributed, installed and networked by a single monolithic data-hoarding entity, which would count people in and out of the premises and would generate online real-time indicators of the busyness or lack thereof of all premises. The online interface would allow recent charts and forecasts to be consulted and compared between different locations. The entire cost would be funded by advertisement sales and data-mining / scraping, so that it appeared to be free of charge both to the participating premises and to the public users.