Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Automated Pastry Identification & Quality Control

A way to ensure that you get the pastry that you desire.
  (+11, -5)
(+11, -5)
  [vote for,
against]

How many times has this happened to you?

You walk up to the counter of your favorite purveyor of baked or fried caffeine accompaniments. You look the barista in the eye and say "May I please have a small black coffee... oh, and one of THOSE!!" The last word spoken whilst tapping your finger on the glass case directly over the Triple Berry, Double Cream, Almond/Hazelnut/Pecan Crossiant that has caught your eye like the first bare midriff of springtime.

The barista reaches into the case and comes up with a wrinkled, dried out, Horseradish and Sauerkraut scone from the tray next to the succulent morsel you desire. "No" you snap, "I want THAT!" your final word indistinct due to your mouth filling with saliva, as you scrape valiantly against the glass over the glistening sweet you would gladly sell your brother's virtue for at this point.

"Oh? This?" She says picking up a pickled okra and beet muffin that was skulking behind the peanut butter cookies.

Practically in tears you pound your entire fist on the glass above your choice of artery clogger.

"Ooo!" She exclaims with joy, thinking she has identified your desires, grabbing a blueberry muffin and holding it up in triumph.

"Ok" you say, resigned to a poor substitute. You take your order and leave.

Both you and the barista are frustrated by this encounter. She truly tried to fulfill your pastry fantasies (well, maybe not ALL of them). What could be done to solve this problem?

Enter the touch sensitive bakery case. When you tap on the glass, sensors detect where you are tapping and indicate exactly which tray you are pointing to, while simultaneously alerting the server as to which tray to pull your purchase from. This indication can either be through a simple flashing of the light above that item, or a criss crossing laser beam. Either one gives you an immediate feedback as to which item you have pointed to, allowing you to adjust your aim if necessary. Also an indicator lamp lights up just above the tray on the back of the case so the server knows what to pull for you. When she has removed the desired food item, a quick slap on a large button resets the system for the next customer.

Now you can get exactly what you want, and the barista can send you away happy.

Galbinus_Caeli, Feb 20 2006

[link]






       Surely the pastry display case should just be equipped with a small robot finger inside (for pointing out your desired sticky cake) which can be controlled with a joystick on the outside of the case?
hippo, Feb 20 2006
  

       Don't folk carry around laser pointers anymore?
coprocephalous, Feb 20 2006
  

       what they need is one of those carnival things that let you grab a toy.
theircompetitor, Feb 20 2006
  

       [copro] A laser pointer does not help much, since the server can only see the back of the tray and you can only point at the front. My system allows you to indicate to the server exactly which tray you wish her to pull an item from. Also what if your laser pointer has a dead battery. My finger is always charged.
Galbinus_Caeli, Feb 20 2006
  

       [Competitor] A carnival arm would be far too much work for me when I am ordering my morning stimulants. The simple GAP* interface of my system is far superior.   

       *GAP= Grunt And Point.
Galbinus_Caeli, Feb 20 2006
  

       "Good morning, I'd like a bacon sandwich, please?"   

       "Certainly, won't be long "
skinflaps, Feb 20 2006
  

       The problem is one of parallax error. The solution might come in the form of a calibrated display case, from whence one can derive an unambiguous three dimensional grid reference.
Ian Tindale, Feb 20 2006
  

       //When you tap on the glass, sensors detect where you are tapping//
You will tap on the glass in different places depending on where you are standing.
  

       //allowing you to adjust your aim if necessary//
You change where you are tapping, accordingly.
  

       I think you have it covered, but a simple method of doing this is to have a spotlight above the counter, and use the shadow of your finger.
The advantage of this method is that you can play with shadow animals while the barista is preparing your snack.
Ling, Feb 20 2006
  

       //The problem is one of parallax error//   

       Uh, I think the problem here is really a lack of using words such as "black and white cookie -- third one from the back, please". I'm going to click in the general direction of the [+/-]. Not sure which I'll end up with yet.
zigness, Feb 20 2006
  

       I ended up with a [+]. Probably due to the sheer lunacy of this.
zigness, Feb 20 2006
  

       [ling] The shadow does not help much more than a laser pointer would. The server is behind the case and really cannot see where you are making your shadow puppet fall. You are indicating the front of the tray, she has to pull from the back.   

       [zigness] Words are often inaccurate. Just this morning I ordered "That muffin looking thing with the nuts on it. No, to the left of that muffin looking thing, no, your left, yes." The precise designation of each pastry is not always clear, and signage is often inadequete, or entirely missing.   

       Tapping the glass and having that exact tray light up lets me, the customer, know that I have made an unambiguous designation of my desired treat, a light in the back ensures that the server can pick it up.
Galbinus_Caeli, Feb 20 2006
  

       No device is proof against the wilful perversity of shop clerks, if your voice alone is not enough to convey your meaning.
DrCurry, Feb 20 2006
  

       I work in Carvel, and am constantly met by people who think I can automatically define what "I want that one!" means. It's one of the most frustrating things in my life. I'd like the touch sensitive stuff, but would feel better if people just read the goddamn labels.   

       I mean honestly, they're right there, they seethelabelsandthey justpointandsayanywaysostupid sostupidWHYWHYWHYWHY! [Is led away from computer and given one of the nice yellow pills.]
notmarkflynn, Feb 20 2006
  

       [notmark] When things are clearly and accuratly labeled the problem is significantly lessoned, but how often has it happened that your idiot coworker shoves the trays in at random putting the blueberry scones directly behind the sign that says "Pumpkin Muffin" or the sign falls off, or as happened this morning (prompting this entry) none of the items in the case are marked.
Galbinus_Caeli, Feb 20 2006
  

       The solution is simple. Give every food item an IPV6 address.
Ian Tindale, Feb 20 2006
  

       Order online.
hidden truths, Feb 20 2006
  

       Yes. A nice baba pastry will do wonderfully.   

       Wait! Why not just learn the language of your barista,
or be satisfied with the scallion and minced plum slice?
reensure, Feb 20 2006
  

       Yeah, you're right [Galbinus.] But when the label is there, and the item is correctly marked, and even looks like what is in the description (A white ice cream with small black dots in it labeled "vanilla chocolate chip."), some people will still point. And that's what makes me lose faith in society.   

       The only times a person should point is to alert someone to danger or while laughing at someone you don't like.
notmarkflynn, Feb 20 2006
  

       This is a good idea. I like ideas that make people happy. Or ideas that make me laugh. Or quite a number of other types, actually.   

       I'll give you *that* bun.
dbmag9, Feb 22 2006
  

       [dbmag9]: Not *that* bun, the other..
Ah, crap (digs through bag for laser pointer...)



(laser pointer has flat batteries, gives up...)
neutrinos_shadow, Feb 22 2006
  

       (Sigh)   

       Once again, QC takes the blame for what are essentially engineering and customer service issues.
normzone, Feb 22 2006
  

       Have a long, thin, pointed dowel on a tether and several holes bored into the display cabinet glass. You indicate which you want by skewering it.   

       And, yeah, what's QC have to do with this?
bristolz, Feb 22 2006
  

       It is Quality Control of the Identification of Pastry.
Galbinus_Caeli, Feb 22 2006
  

       Say it with me: "I'd like the Triple Berry, Double Cream, Almond/Hazelnut/Pecan Crossiant, third from the back."
Worldgineer, Feb 22 2006
  

       Go to a cafe staffed by cute people and use the confusion to flirt outrageously and get your day off to an even better start:   

       "This one sir?" <smiles>   

       "No, that one's too flat. I prefer mine slightly fuller and more rounded." <winks>   

       "You like this one here?" <smiles, bends forward more than strictly necessary>   

       "Yes, that's a cheeky little number..." <glances at hemline> "...just how it like it."   

       "Would sir like it warmed for him?" <filthy glance downward>   

       "On second thoughts I'll leave it. It's covered in cream and it's already lost it's cherry." <receives scalding coffee full in face>
wagster, Feb 22 2006
  

       Would you like a sticky bun?
No, love. You can lay in the damp patch, this time.
Ling, Feb 23 2006
  

       It could be advertising to the person behind you if the LAZERS lit up your dream cake good enough. Yeah! I'll have the same thingy he lit up. sil-vous plait.
abadon, Nov 06 2007
  

       A pair of cherry-tipped creamy buns for [wagster]'s anno.
hippo, Nov 06 2007
  

       Pin a little flag with a number on it on each pastry.   

       "I'll have 42 and 17 please."   

       Now that wasn't so hard, was it?
jtp, Nov 06 2007
  

       I use a Borg-style blue laser pointer concealed in my sleeve. It works fairly well. Of course, labels on all the food might make more sense. [jtp]'s vending-machine version is just as good. Actually, it's better for lazy/pressured people.
Shadow Phoenix, Nov 06 2007
  

       There just needs to be some way to poke the item in question. Like a glove-box.
Spacecoyote, Nov 07 2007
  

       Or a KnifeGun/grappling hook.
Shadow Phoenix, Nov 07 2007
  
      
[annotate]
  


 

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