Welcome curious readers. This is a new section where I’ll showcase some of my technological inventions. Most of them may be a passing idea while waiting for the bus, dreaming in the middle of the night, or when staring at abstract art. I find that the best ideas come when you’re not actively thinking about your potential new creation, which really emphasizes the importance of all of the daydreamers out there.
So onto my first invention as stated on the title of this post: the supermarket conveyor belt extension. Many of you may be familiar with the long queues in supermarkets and banks. If you pay attention to both of these places, you’ll find that the bank queues are very organized and free of conflict, while the ones in supermarkets are less so. Often people cut in line with their trolleys in a tree branch pattern, walk through the lines to find the one with the shortest wait time, bump into other peoples’ trolleys, and just plain old argue and fight with each other.
Why is this happening? Are supermarket people less orderly than bank people? No. Is the zigzag queuing pattern more successful than the traditional pattern? Not necessarily. Does the presence of armed personnel in banks lower the chances of disarray? Not true.
The answer are the trolleys and the unusually large area they occupy. While some supermarkets have opted for small handheld baskets, this may in turn aggravate the user by having extra weight to carry. Things may get worse if the supermarket itself is small already (often occurring in countries outside Canada/USA). Having said that, we must have trolleys to put our groceries into. But is there any way we can eliminate the trolleys when people are waiting in line, since this is where most of the conflicts occur?
Yes, there is. Introducing the floor-level supermarket conveyor belt extension. Many of you are familiar with the short conveyor belts that extend to the cashier.
Why not one up this by extending the conveyor belt towards the end of the hallway, having containment for the extended portion? Firstly, this basket shaft or conveyor passageway can reduce the customers’ basket holding time. Secondly, the shaft itself will serve as a barrier for people to change lanes. No longer do you need a friend to line up in the adjacent lane to see who’s the fastest. The total waiting time for customers as a whole will shorten because of the previously-mentioned conflict prevention.
As for the technical aspects, the conveyor belt extension will have to slope downwards at 15 degrees to the horizontal until it reaches slightly above finished floor level, where it’ll once again run horizontally for more than 1 basket length. Everything will work the same way, with the cashier pressing the same button to roll the groceries to them. Having a short conveyor belt isn’t of much use in the first place. Why only roll items for less than 6 feet, when you can roll 15? Since the technology is already in place, might as well make it worth the money.