Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Behaviour-based checkout allocation

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Let's say that you have to swipe your supermarket loyalty card before joining a checkout queue in the supermarket, as well as when you pay. Then, the supermarket knows:

- What you bought on previous shopping trips
- How efficiently you packed and paid for your items of shopping on previous shopping trips (the supermarket already knows the checkout operator's efficiency so can normalize the data for this)
- Whether you're the kind of person who habitually goes into the supermarket at the busiest time of the week in order to buy just a pint of milk
- Whether you are a valued customer (based on your average spend per month at the supermarket)
- etc.

On the basis of all this you will be allocated a queue to join. Valued shoppers who are efficient packers and payers will be allocated shorter, faster queues; People who dither and pay for their single pint of milk with a pocketful of small change before dropping the milk on the floor and sneezing over the checkout will be allocated a long, winding queue which snakes past the other checkouts, through the baby-changing room, out of the door, through the designated smoking area, past the playground and jeering cries of the primary school next door and into a small, crude hut where a surly checkout operative will add up your shopping bill on their fingers.
hippo, Oct 01 2015


       Given Gaussian distribution it would be better to fake being an outlier just to join the more arduous checkout with fewer people in it...
4whom, Oct 01 2015

       I have been thinking along similar lines - that the supermarkets don't collect or use nearly enough information about how we interact with the stores. For example, the trolley style self checkouts robotically hector you to please take your items when the scales in the machine would - if the machine were using this information - be able to detect with trivial ease that I am already taking my fucking items and loading them into the trolley thank you very much please stop talking at me.   

       But related to this and to address this idea itself, I think that there are other measurements that if the supermarkets are taking they aren't doing anything useful with - for example, whether, based on the averaged out throughput of barcodes, the items on the conveyor have been grouped in a way that mitigates the heightened potatoes on loaf risk that comes with the local dance troupe's backpack fundraise for a trip to Laos - because this is the sort of thing that elevates amateur hour shoppers from seventh dan types such a mesel'.   

       The problem with this is that it creates lane-coveting and hierarchies in the already massively dysfunctional supermarket workplaces, with favourite and longterm ungrumbling but inefficient minwage staff most likely to get the plum lanes allocated to them and desperate parolees finding themselves counting out pennies for kyphotic biddies in for their 20 Rothmans and a Fray Bentos each day. This will, of course, only cause the parolees to return to a life of crime.
calum, Oct 01 2015

       Will there be concealed trapdoors over deep pits with sharp spikes at the bottom, for culling the single-lifters ?
8th of 7, Oct 01 2015

       There's not enough data collection, I say! Having security camera photo, name and billing address in their database just doesn't do it for today's experienced masochists. Urine samples. Blood samples. Why are't they setting us down for a post shop interrogation? feh, these new oligarchs just don't know how to treat a peasant.
Voice, Oct 02 2015

       I like. Particularly the direction of the second line, (queue). Such a visual,
blissmiss, Oct 03 2015

       //DNA analysis// - what do you think they do with all those cocktail sticks they put out for you to get samples on at the deli counter?
hippo, Oct 03 2015

       Payheavier-based checkout allocation: Plus one (buck) lines are sure faster. Plus five lines are for the desperate. And the Mart wallet grows faster when they degrade service times.
AK-74, Oct 05 2015

       Might be you have it reversed. Perhaps the fast efficient shoppers should get the slower checkouts, and vice versa, to best normalize traffic flow throughout the cashier area. Using the plan as proposed, the slower shopper queue will build and extend throughout the business day until the lines wrap around the store.   

       I don't think punishing slow shoppers is a good business practice, they will just go elsewhere, and there will be elsewheres willing to take their money.
tatterdemalion, Oct 05 2015

       I suspect that the slow shoppers are by and large really old and of limited mobility, so will be a captive segment of yr local supermarket's market. Also, they might like the more laid back, convivial atmos - the checkout equivalent of a Sunday dawdle down a B-road to a duckpond.
calum, Oct 05 2015

       I like your penalties, but this NEEDS extra penalties.   

       Whereby: "The 13 item or less aisle is visited by an old lady with 37 items and a personal check." This fast lane for loyal fast-checker-outers will be visited by those same people.   

       So, if you enter the faster lane without cause, you are "helped to your car" by a burly bouncer type dude that breaks all of your eggs. Maybe even grabs your bags, squeezes them like he's trying to get the water off of his swim shorts, pulverizes everything in your bag into a gooey mess. Shoves it in your trunk. Looks disdainfully. Then drops a mic.   

       (OK, yes the bouncers need to be supplied with dummy microphones for the full effect.)
sophocles, Oct 06 2015


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