Saturday, November 18, 2006

Intelligence test

I was standing in the self checkout line at the local supermarket, chocolate cake in one hand, paper towels in the other. The two purchases aren't necessarily related!

Before me the usual rag tag assortment of people who can't cope with the self checkout process. Why they subject themselves and, more importantly, me, to the experience is something I couldn't say but I *have* seen some of the same folk struggling with the concept before.

But heck, this ain't rocket science. What's so hard about reading a three word instruction then pushing the correct button? Followed by swiping things through one at a time and putting them on the scales?

I will admit that the supermarket checkout *does* throw a spanner in the works by expecting some kind of personal identifier, either a loyalty card or a phone number. I refuse to play that game except to the extent of getting the 'discounted' price attached to the identifier. I find that punching in a random phone number works just fine and doubtless there are people who will, next week, sit down to their thanksgiving turkey with not the faintest inkling that my purchases helped them accumulate the loyalty points required to snag a free one!

So anyway, I was standing in the line half an hour ago watching yet another assortment of people trying to cope with a process simple enough that I reckon a particularly dull chimp could master it within seconds when it occurred to me that they really need an intelligence test to gain access to the shorter line. And then it occurred to me that in fact the entire process itself *was* the intelligence test; all that is lacking is the reward or revenge at the end of the process.

What I think is needed is a system reminiscent of the system at customs and immigration; the machine weighs the subject by a variety of criteria; how many times did they have to request a restart because they pushed the wrong button? How many seconds elapsed between scanning one item and the next? At the end they get a tag to follow the green arrow or the red one.

Green leads to the car park. And red leads to a small padded room with an automatic lead dispenser! Some people are just *too* stupid to live!!!

1 comment:

Guy said...

Rob, try this: Get a Fry's, Albertstons, and Safeways rewards card. Then at the check-out scan one that does NOT fit with that store. You will find that it still gives you a discount and does not give them the info they want. :)