Human Grepping

Posted at 2:11 PM on 7 April 2002

AKA "The best place to stand when collecting your luggage at the airport carousel".

Imagine the situation: You're at an airport, you're waiting for your luggage to come off the plane and you're standing by the carousel. You can't remember what your suitcases/bags look like as the Mrs/your travelling companion is looking after the kids/is otherwise indisposed. Where is the best place to stand in order to (a) retrieve all your luggage, and (b) minimise the amount of luggage you have to look at in order to decide if a particular bag/suitcase is yours or not?

The answer is as obvious as it is simple. You apply "Human Grepping" (a real life version of the unix "grep" utility with which it is possible to filter text files, printing out only the lines which contain matches) to the problem, ie. you stand at the point closest to the place where the luggage comes out onto the conveyer belt, but furthest away in terms of how far your luggage has to travel in order to get to you - in other words, you let all luggage complete at least one complete circuit of the carousel.

By doing this, you apply a filter to all of the luggage coming off the plane; since the carousel is crowded by other occupants of your flight, they perform the filtering operation for you by removing their own luggage from that on display. When a bag gets to you, the probability that it is your bag is high, whereas if you stand just in front of the place where the luggage comes onto the carousel you have to check every bag eith a vastly lower probability that the bag going past is yours.

It works amazingly well too. Try it next time you're on holiday, and you'll see what I mean! 8)

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Comments on "Human Grepping"

LOL! This is good if you don't know what the cases look like, but it's not much good if you are in a hurry - my advice for the future would be that it might be simpler to take note of what your luggage looks like ...

... unfortunately this also gives everyone else who doesn't know what their luggage looks like ample opportunity to run off with you'rs by mistake.

A much better idea is to carry your suitcases through a paintball tournament the day before you fly so they are far more easily identifyable.

... and also providing a handy shield to reduce the amount of paintball induced bruising you will suffer :-D

What if everybody applies the same system? The same cases will go round and round and round...

ensure all you cases are lined with metal and
simply fish the badboys out with a giant fucking magnet....let them come to you.

might be giving this a try tonite, purely in the spirit of experimentation of course!! ;-)

This was actually pretty effective, as it meant I could read my book/play on my phone while waiting for my luggage (using peripheral vision for the few cases that matched the vague shape of my own!).

nice

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