Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Your Face or Mine ?

A new queueing system, not a chat up line.
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There I was (again) at the deli counter, pondering why none of the staff noticed me, frustrated, standing at the other end of the counter all of 6 metres away, whilst about 10 people turned up after me, were served, and left, and I thought : Lo, combine the twin joys of face recognition with queueing.

Each counter has a camera, which it uses to scan the deli-crowd, looking for new faces as they arrive. When it finds one, the new face flashes on the plasma screen at the back (where all the staff can see), and drops to its logical position in the queue. As soon as the person at the top of the queue is served, their photo disappears off the top of the screen, so it's immediately obvious who's next.

It's mainly used for stopping fights where no-one can remember who was there when they arrived at the counter.
Also works in bars where the barman (female bar staff never seem to have this problem) doesn't notice who joins the counter when.
neilp, Aug 18 2004

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       Yes!   

       I suggest that the moment when the camera catches your image is made obvious to you (e.g by using a customer-facing screen as well as one aimed at the staff, together with a pause and audible warning before capture). This affords you the opportunity to pull a stupid face or pick your nose etc. Those people helping to lift the mundane queuing experience into the realm of entertainment would be rewarded by a staff-nominated jump up the queue by one place.
dobtabulous, Aug 18 2004
  

       a charming add-on [dob].. [hazel] suggested a 'am I hot or not' feature too.
neilp, Aug 18 2004
  

       hey youngster, where you been? Nice +
jonthegeologist, Aug 18 2004
  

       waitin' for my bacon oldster.
neilp, Aug 18 2004
  

       I likes, but not in a crowded bar. If the 'tender had a second mission of matching faces out of a crowd, it'd slow things down a bit.
It'd work at slower paces, like...um...a...deli? No shit. [+]
yabba do yabba dabba, Aug 18 2004
  

       Wondering where calum is? or was that my face.....
skinflaps, Aug 18 2004
  

       //If the 'tender had a second mission of matching faces out of a crowd, it'd slow things down a bit.// The system could just find and shine a light on the next face to be served.
FarmerJohn, Aug 18 2004
  

       <spotlight on Mach> I like this idea...especially for the bar. I don't know how many times I've stood at the bar waiting for my turn to order, but the shorter women think they have some God given right to elbow their way in front of me so they can be seen, so naturally the bartender thinks they're ahead of me in line. So I end up waiting for 5 hours. Have a croissant, neil.
Machiavelli, Aug 18 2004
  

       you like spiders? neilp. welcome back.
po, Aug 18 2004
  

       <aside>err. I don't mind spiders</aside> thanks [po]
neilp, Aug 18 2004
  

       It'll be perfect for large governmental offices [income tax etc.], and other places where line number dispensers are in use. People have already learnt all the possible ways to hack this system - come early and take 300 tickets, pass your ticket to your friend and so on.
Face recognition system will solve these problems - well, at least until someone will come up with new ways of outsmarting it.
shibolim, Aug 19 2004
  

       Maybe in a bar context, the person due to be served next could be picked out by some sort of spotlight that not even the least competent of bartenders could miss.
jamieb, Aug 19 2004
  

       You may quote me on that.
FarmerJohn, Aug 19 2004
  

       Maybe a face analysis and description system could be incorporated?   

       "Next up - you with the big nose and acne scars on your forehead!"   

       "Next up - blondie with the pearly whites! Ever date a machine baby?"
wagster, Aug 19 2004
  

       [neilp] oh I get it -a bacon oldster is a sandwich, very funny. took me a while... I like the idea, but I never have a line problem at Subway, my favorite (American) sub shop. they only give you room to stand in a straight line from order to pay.
dentworth, Aug 19 2004
  
      
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