Indie Magician’s Sleight of Hand Makes Money Disappear
There is a coffee shop near me where I used to buy my beans, and they used to short the pound all the time. I figured it out by taking it to the bodega next door and weighing it right after purchasing it, and ended up getting an “oops” but no apology. Shoulda reported them.
I hope cities with farmers’ markets like this send undercover BOWM agents in on a regular basis because I imagine this kinda thing happens all the time.
Aside: vertical video totally appropriate in this situation.
Name and shame, s’il vous plaît?
oooh, can we apply NEUROSCIENCE to this? maybe BAYESIAN STATISTICS?! YOW!!
anyone inspired by this video: consider checking out the whole foods near you. some of them have self-serve scales for labeling your coffee, and some of those even don’t have the tare button locked out. (this comment is for educational purposes only.)
Why would they have the tare button blocked out? If they did, they’d probably actually be violating the law because they wouldn’t be allowing the customer to tare the weight of the bag before weighing the total. Most customers wouldn’t do that anyway, since they probably don’t know how or care much about the 0.03 lbs that a bag weighs.
As for trying to pull one over on Whole Foods though, you do realize they weigh your coffee when you check out, right? Stick whatever label on it you want, they still know how much it weighs when it gets to the register.
tare: they provide bags for ground coffee. they vary in milligrams at most. i’ve never seen anyone use anything else.
wf: no, the scale (at least the one i’m referring to, may not be universal) prints a fully-barcoded tag, which they laser-scan at the register. i suppose a cashier could take the trouble to reweigh it and bust you, but afaict they really don’t give a shit. i can’t blame them; it must be kind of a drag selling ~1000x your hourly salary in overpriced food to yuppies.
The “both sides cheating” Saturday Evening Post cover linked in the Reddit thread (here) reminds me of an old (now deceased) acquaintance who spent 30 years running a butcher shop. While the Leslie Thrasher illustration is a great depiction of everyone-wants-a-maximum-return-and-damn-the-other, in reality I think granny didn’t stand a chance.
Here’s how Sonny described the scam (as I recall): “A butcher shop floor is covered in sawdust, to soak up the blood and keep you from slipping. But it was good for other things, too. You see, when someone selects a chicken, and I’m pulling it out of the case to put it on the scale, I slip a big-ass bolt right up that chicken’s butt. Set it on the scale, let the customer see it, and make a note of the weight. Then, when I pull it off the scale, I tip it down as I’m bringing it to the paper – the bolt falls out to the floor, and the sawdust keeps it from making too much noise…you just keep talking, or cough, or stamp your foot; it’s easy! Never got caught in all my time…and if I would have, well, fuck 'em – we’re all suckers, including me, and no one gets a break.”
He told me he figured his “chicken cheating” trick had returned enough cash to put a basement under his house, instead of just building it on a slab. And yes – he called it “chump change.”
Nice! And thanks for the great story, which sent me here:
And now I know what I’ll be walking behind stalls at the farmers market looking out for this weekend.
A normal day in Russia.
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