Sunday, November 18, 2012

At the checkout

It hasn't happened for awhile, but there was a time when supermarket checkout barcode scanners were were slow and unreliable. Actually, it still happens in Dan Murphy's, where the number related to the barcode sometimes has to be manually entered  into the register. The numbers are many digits long, yet the check out chick or chap glances at the numbers and seems to be able to enter them all into the register with one hit. Amazing. I can't recall barcode digits being manually entered in supermarkets for quite some time.

I am sure it is a thing you can learn. I have tried with my bank account when I make a transaction and write down the record, but I can't get much better than six or seven numbers, however it is an improvement on my past three numbers at a time. 

I really wish I knew someone who worked at a supermarket check out to ask how they remember so many bar code numbers. Perhaps the first few digits are always the same.

19 comments:

  1. I read that the 1st 3 or so numerals indicate what country of origin then following numbers are type of product...buggered if I know how they chuck it all in so quick!

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    1. Jayne, so it is not just me.

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  2. You're right about the first few numbers being the same, dependent on the brand. Look at a few shelf items form one particular brand and the first six or so numbers should all be the same for that brand. A generic brand? Same thing. I have found that when a barcode doesn't scan it's because the item isn't in "the system", so even entering it manually won't work. For those occasions if we know the price of the item, we'll enter a category code, then the price.

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  3. Gah!! Typo! "form" should be "from".

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    1. River, so the first few numbers are always the same, and the next few relate to the brand, and then the product.

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    2. Colin6:50 am

      No. The first 3 or 4 numbers represent the country where the product is produced, manufactured and in this case bottled.
      The Australian coding is 9 300 or 9 310, then all those other numbers. Just note that these numbers have by law now MUST be on every product.
      French wines, which arrive here bottled would have the code of France to start off with. The wines imported from NZ, ditto and of course premier scotch from Scotland has the Scottish code.
      It is a bit confusing, but the campaign was started by Dick Smith in his "Buy Australian Campaign".
      All supermarket products now must be labelled where they came from.
      I, whole heartedly, support this campaign.
      Of course, if your taste is for Belgium chocolates supposedly the premier ones in the World, but don't tell that to the Swiss, then you will have the barcode of Begium or if you prefer Swiss, then it is Switzerland.

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    3. Thanks Colin. I recalled that you had an interest in barcodes and their meanings.

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    4. Colin2:31 pm

      Yep Andrew.
      I have three crusades before I depart this planet.
      1. Live Export of Livestock to be stopped. We can export from here the frozen carcasses and at the same time give work to Australians.
      (Plus remove Senator Ludwig back into his cage).
      2. Support the efforts of Dick Smith, I have become the "curse of the supermarket attendants" - I tell them about this support of Australian Grown and Produced Products, you would be surprised that they have no idea of this, but I can assure you, they DO appreciate my views. What do they teach these young people in schools these days???? I do admire the fact that these young people are working and many of them are still secondary school kids. Make them think, I say.
      3. The bringing of corrupt politicans and their advisors, bureaucrats appointed by them -
      (Yes, men and women) to justice.
      Now off my high horse, but rather than accept what is going on, I think it is TIME to start doing something before it is too late.

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    5. All worthy things Colin and I agree. At times I am astonished at the knowledge young people have and I am not so keen on having them being dismissed as only interested in their Ipods. I hope schools are planting into their brains to question everything. Btw, you don't own an M16 or Kalishnakov do you?

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  4. Wait till you get older and you can remember less and less. Not nice.

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    1. I am on my way there already, I think Diane.

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  5. When a code is not in the system you can't add it manually. How they do it price wise is beyond me.

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    1. Peter, sometimes they rely on the customer being honest, or they might call over a pa, 'price check please'.

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  6. This problem happens quite often at my local NQR.

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    1. Windsmoke, I can think of two reasons, the barcode has been bent or damaged, or the bar code is just NQR.

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  7. So ... is the barcode system overall more efficient than the old price sticker/checklist and cash register entry? From the number of 'fails' sometimes I wonder ...

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    1. Two and four pence halfpenny, kaching. I liked the machines where the amount was punched into keys that depressed and then there was a larger enter key. The scanners are pretty good now, which you know if you use self check outs.

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  8. I'm good with entering numbers, crap at maths! I used to be super fast at numerical data entry, looong ago!

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    1. So how good Fen? I don't know about it. Can you glance at a sequence of numbers and remember them?

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