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« Retail Sales Outlook | Main | The Recession Isn't Over Yet (as of last week) »

August 06, 2009



I was shopping at a grocery/vegetable store in Mylapore, Chennai, India. The check-out girl (not a college educated person but a very street smart person) was serving us. My sister-in-law bought a bunch of different vegetables (different quantities and different unit prices). The girl used an electronic weighing machine wherein she entered the product code of each vegetable and the machine tallied the total. The girl loaded the weighing machine with potatoes pressed a couple of buttons, then without removing the potatoes, loaded the pan with another vegetable and again pressed a couple of buttons and on she went with all the vegetables without unloading the weighing machine. I was puzzled and wondering how she came up with the individual weights of the different vegetables since the final bill was perfect. Her hand movements were very quick. I could not help asking her what her trick was. What she said was brilliant and would have made Frank and Lillian Gilbreth proud. She told me that between each loading of a new vegetable she reset the electronic weighing machine so that the tare weight each time was with the vegetables loaded up to that point. This way she did not have to unload each vegetable after each weighing. She could weigh vegetables until she reached the capacity of the pan that was holding the vegetables (in volume). What a tremendous saving in time and motion. In India shoppers bring their own bags and usually all the vegetables are put in that bag and the customer goes home and separates the vegetables. (Chuck from Atlanta, GA, USA)

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