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When the Senate Tried To Ban Dial Telephones

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the history-repeating dept.

Censorship 506

An anonymous reader writes "With the Senate now looking to have the government block access to websites it deems to be bad (which seems to be called 'censorship' in other countries), it's worth pointing out that the Senate doesn't exactly have a good track record when it comes to deciding what technologies to ban. Back in 1930, some Senators came close to banning the dial telephone, because they felt that it was wrong that they had to do the labor themselves, rather than an operator at the other end."

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Forward thinkers (4, Funny)

plover (150551) | more than 3 years ago | (#33669536)

"For a list of all the ways technology has failed to improve the quality of life, please press 3."
  -- Alice Kahn

Maybe the Senate was far more forward thinking than any of us give them credit for.

Spittle/Urine Stream Interference (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33669596)

Hello. I was just in the toilet/bathroom right now, urinating into the bowl in my usual controlled manner. Towards the end of my session, I cleared my throat and gently spat into the toilet - but lo! The spittle collided with my urine stream, and together they merged into a single stream, before arcing gracefully into the yellowed water. I am wondering if this phenomenon has a name? I tried to repeat the experiment on subsequent visits to the bathroom without success - alas, had some debris lodged in my glans and the piss trajectory was too erratic and unpredictable.

Re:Forward thinkers (4, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#33669614)

That sounds awfully like the older people who complain about "self checkouts" at a supermarket. For one thing, they're not mandatory (at least not yet), and for another, I vastly prefer them as they tend to have much shorter waiting times, and I can scan and pay much faster when doing everything myself. It makes no sense that "other people should be doing this for me" when all it involves is pressing a couple of buttons, and in the end the result is far more convenient - and should result in savings for you when the store or whatever has to employ less staff.

Re:Forward thinkers (5, Insightful)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#33669684)

In principle I agree with you. In practice, self checkouts are buggy as hell and any saved money will go straight to the pockets of the executives.

Re:Forward thinkers (2, Insightful)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 3 years ago | (#33669722)

in practice, I can grab a few things and check out in 30 seconds. The stores are already fucking with me over membership cards and overpriced beef.

Re:Forward thinkers (1)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | more than 3 years ago | (#33670080)

I have other criteria. At a store with friendly and helpful checkout staff, I will go to the human every time. At Canadian Tire, where their staff should generally not be allowed to continue to waste valuable oxygen, I head for the automated checkout with a smile.

Re:Forward thinkers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33670008)

In principle I agree with you. In practice, self checkouts are buggy as hell and any saved money will go straight to Loss Prevention to help pay a fraction of the increase in merchandise theft.

Fixed that for ya.

Re:Forward thinkers (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 3 years ago | (#33670092)

I've never had any issues with the self checkout being buggy, and I use it almost exclusively at my local grocery store. You are correct however, that any savings are unlikely to be seen by the customer. It's the same issue I have with bringing my own bags... I'm saving the store money without seeing the benefit myself.

Re:Forward thinkers (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 3 years ago | (#33670174)

One of the grocery stores where I live gives you a discount if you bring your own bags (I forget what the amount is, but enough to make it worthwhile to save your bags and bring them back). Obviously they have smarter management than most grocery stores... if you give the customer an incentive to help you cut costs, you will have more customers helping you cut costs.

Re:Forward thinkers (1)

enjerth (892959) | more than 3 years ago | (#33670320)

Bonus if you use cloth bags, they don't tear and dump your groceries on the ground.

Re:Forward thinkers (4, Informative)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33669692)

For me self-checkouts are slower. Simply put: I don't move as fast as the full-time worker does. It takes me about 3 times longer. Also the "scale" often doesn't register when I move my item into the shopping bag.

"Please put your item in your bag."

"I did."

"Please put your item in your bag."

(removes item. Puts back into bag)

"Please put your item in your bag."

"Grrr." (pulls item out of shopping cart and dumps into bag)

"Thank you sir. Please scan next item or press done to continue." ----- Yes that's right. I stole an item. Not my fault the machine doesn't work right. It's the store's fault.

Re:Forward thinkers (5, Funny)

cj_nologic (1649427) | more than 3 years ago | (#33669772)

"Thank you sir. Please scan next item or press done to continue." ----- Yes that's right. I stole an item. Not my fault the machine doesn't work right. It's the store's fault.

How does the machine know you're a man? That's scary.

Unless of course you're not - in which case, you're right, the damn machine doesn't work right.

Re:Forward thinkers (3, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#33669946)

I realize that grocery stores actually operate on pretty thin margins; but I have a very hard time believing that the fairly elaborate(and deeply buggy and annoying) "theft prevention" mechanisms in the self checkouts actually work well enough to justify their existence.

Pretty much every item in the store is marked with the weight of its contents, and the packaging weights within classes of objects don't vary too much(ie pound of shitty store-brand coffee vs. pound of the good stuff). Even an amateur should be able to break the weight-based verification system without breaking a sweat; but it is inevitably either failing to register my small items or freaking out because I've accidentally left the corner of my bag of earlier purchases just slightly on the scale. I'd assume that, if you are one of the pros(stealing mass quantities of baby formula to cut your drugs with or whatever) it isn't rocket surgery to haul out a scale and work out precise weights for your UPC swap scheme. Never mind, of course, that the checkout system doesn't know that it exists if you don't scan it.

I have to imagine that it would be more efficient to have one loss prevention/old lady helper dude watching over 4 or 5 checkouts that focus on efficiency, rather than paranoia, instead of having zero humans watching a bank of paranoid but ineffectual self-checkout units...

Re:Forward thinkers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33670130)

I also don't think it bothers them much that one asshole can go out of his way to steal 5 bucks from them. I'm sure it doesn't affect their profits much.

Re:Forward thinkers (0)

hibiki_r (649814) | more than 3 years ago | (#33670260)

Their margins are often 0, or negative. They make their money by not paying for merchandise on delivery, but a few weeks later. By cycling through inventory fast enough, they have large amounts of cash in hand, which they can play with in the same way gamestop does with their preorders.

Re:Forward thinkers (1)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 3 years ago | (#33670274)

I have to imagine that it would be more efficient to have one loss prevention/old lady helper dude watching over 4 or 5 checkouts

fix:
Two people working together.
One is pretending to be a moron, which draws the employee from their perch watching the 4 checkouts.
The other person is on a checkout behind the distracted watcher, now stuffing bags with items of the correct weight, but vastly more expensive. I.e. bought 20 pounds of potatoes, loaded 20 pounds of grey goose vodka (hey, at least it's "still" potatoes).
-nB

Re:Forward thinkers (1)

sockonafish (228678) | more than 3 years ago | (#33670150)

Please stay out of the self-check line.

Re:Forward thinkers (3, Informative)

similar_name (1164087) | more than 3 years ago | (#33670302)

My experience has been completely different, though my roommates is similar to yours. When we buy groceries I check us out.

I don't deny there are some bugs but I think the majority of problems come from being an immature technology.

The following are my thoughts on the casual observations of the way my roommate and I check out.

The machine has a very limited margin of error for the timing between scanning and weighing and scanning the next item.

The scale for instance can lag because the initial force of dropping the item in the bag registers more than rest weight. If you scan the next item before the scale stabilizes it throws the thing out of whack and it won't recover until the cashier comes over. In the meantime the software starts to lag and the instructions don't keep up with the customer's actions. This spirals into a very unpleasant experience for the customer.

One solution could be to wait until the end when everything has stabilized to report an error. And then to have an idea of which item it could be that it doesn't understand. It would also help if the stores realized relying on such exacting weights problem cause more shrinkage than people who go in with the intention of shoplifting.

That's my 2 dollars worth anyway.

Re:Forward thinkers (3, Insightful)

plover (150551) | more than 3 years ago | (#33669826)

I'll only use a self checkout if I don't have to wait behind another customer. Most people are way too technologically incompetent to scan their own merchandise.

Watch the slow ones some time. They don't understand the scanner has to see those little stripes. They'll bounce the product up and down on the scanner as if that's the magic action required to get it to cooperate. Or they'll wave it back and forth and back and forth like it's a mystical ritual. They'll never try anything that might actually help, like locating the barcode, or changing the orientation, or smoothing the wrinkles from the wrapper.

A cashier is almost always faster than a random human.

Re:Forward thinkers (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 3 years ago | (#33670152)

Never used a self-checkout. All it is is about dumping the people working the registers so management can get a bigger bonus. Thanks but no thanks. I like that those people have a job. No reason to take it away from them and all it could cost is a few minutes of my time a week.

I tried the ones where you walk around with a scanner just to see what the fuzz was about and what it does is let you stay in the store longer. Time you spend in the store is extremely important as it is directly related to turnover and thus profit.

Supermarkets have a huge range of doing sales. The ONLY way to avoid all the tricks a supermarket trows at you is very high tech. It is called a "shopping list". Make it before you go and best not if you are hungry. Stick to it no matter what. NO MATTER WHAT. You see a huge saving? Look at your list and if it isn't on there, do NOT buy it.

Re:Forward thinkers (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#33670208)

The ONLY way to avoid all the tricks a supermarket trows at you is very high tech. It is called a "shopping list".

I find will power works perfectly fine for me. Then again, I often forget to buy one item and have to go back the next day, so I probably should make lists more often..

Re:Forward thinkers (5, Interesting)

MayonakaHa (562348) | more than 3 years ago | (#33669828)

I hardly qualify as "older" and I honestly think self checkouts are a waste of time and resources. When they're properly maintained and every item is entered correctly in the system and has a bar code I'm sure they'd work perfectly. As a former retail checker for several years and a customer I know that's hardly ever the case. SKUs change too fast to keep up with sometimes and maintenance from the equipment vendors doesn't come often enough and they react too slow to emergencies. The number of times I've gotten stuck on "Please put your item in the bag" are too many because it can't detect the weight properly and not to mention it feels like the laser in the scanner is much weaker than the one on a proper checkout terminal. If there's an issue you have to wait for the single employee who manages at least four of those self checkouts to come over and fix it. Usually that means waiting for them to finish with the other one or two customers with issues.

Re:Forward thinkers (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#33670192)

All of these things are true, but I still find them much more convenient and pleasant than traditional checkouts. Then again, some people enjoy social interaction with strangers, but I'm not one of them.

Re:Forward thinkers (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 3 years ago | (#33669900)

I tend to think that I scan faster than the checker, but I don't know if that's because I'm actively doing the scanning instead of passively waiting for them to finish. I certainly feel like it takes forever waiting for the people in front of me to finish checking out.

Re:Forward thinkers (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#33670170)

Yeah it's certainly a lot less boring than waiting around. I have the whole paying process down to a fine art these days though at ASDA, my brain pretty much knows the exact timings and onscreen positionings etc that the machine will ask me if I want cash-back, or the card reader will beep to say to remove my card, so I waste minimal time and don't have to wait for the thing to ask me to do something, nor have to speak back to it.. if I'm only buying a couple of items I can easily knock through it in less than a minute.

Re:Forward thinkers (1)

Xeno man (1614779) | more than 3 years ago | (#33670200)

If you have a lot of items, the cashier will be faster than you for several reasons. The main reason is the the self checkouts only let you scan one item at a time. You scan an item, put it on the scale, get next item, scan it, put it on the scale. A cashier can pick up one item and scan the same item several times if you are buying more then one. Say your stocking up on bottles of pop. Cashier will just pick up one and (beep)(beep)(beep)(beep)(beep), done.

If you have several dozen items a cashier will be much faster as they have you loading a conveyor belt that constantly feeds them items to scan. 2 people will always be better faster than one unless it's their first day.

Re:Forward thinkers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33669902)

The big picture is that a liberal application of automation and management by technology could intelligently create abundance with high efficiency while knocking out demand for labour, invalidating monetary economics.

Re:Forward thinkers (3, Insightful)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 3 years ago | (#33669922)

FEWER staff, not less.

Secondly, any "savings" for this method will NOT be passed on to you, they will go to slightly greater corporate profits. You honestly still believe in such fairy tales?

Thirdly if such savings, in a fantasy world, WERE passed on to you, then you would see fresh produce for $0.98 per pound instead of $0.99 per pound. Face it, the company has passed on the cost of labor onto you, the consumer. And you think self-checkout is an advance and it makes no sense to do it otherwise!

Re:Forward thinkers (4, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#33670138)

Secondly, any "savings" for this method will NOT be passed on to you, they will go to slightly greater corporate profits. You honestly still believe in such fairy tales?

Have you not noticed the insane price wars always going on between major supermarkets?

I don't really check the prices of stuff any more to be honest, but I assume the reduction in staff will indeed show up as savings, the same way that Amazon can afford to be so cheap.. razor thin margins to attract a large volume of customers.

Re:Forward thinkers (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 3 years ago | (#33670182)

OK...you notice the insane price wars, but you don't check the prices of stuff? WTF dude? How does that follow? You, as an educated person, surely know the theory of "loss leaders"? Then you assume that the reduction in staff will show up as savings? EARTH TO DUMB GUY: they don't do business like that any more.

Re:Forward thinkers (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#33670256)

I just remember the ads from TV and the slogans. I stopped checking the prices of stuff when I started getting paid enough that I can buy what I want to eat rather than having to buy the budget items on everything. Also I have a fairly limited set of stuff that I generally buy - maybe from time to time if I'm buying something new I will briefly compare prices out of interest, but in the grand scheme of things food is pretty cheap, and it's crazy of me to be trying to save a couple of pounds a month on toothpaste or peanut butter or whatever when I spend so much more on CDs, DVDs, games, etc

Re:Forward thinkers (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#33670312)

guess I'd better clarify: the ads saying "we have 2000 items cheaper than [competitor]" is how I noticed the price wars, and I rarely even watch TV..

I don't see how it's dumb to assume that they will use further improvements in efficiency to continue to try and beat their competitors on price. And not every item can be a loss leader.

Re:Forward thinkers (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#33670190)

That reminds me of when they started rolling out those club cards around here. The assertion was that they'd save you money if you allowed them to track your purchases. As it turned out virtually overnight the price on pretty much everything jumped drastically in price, leaving the club price suspiciously similar to the previous normal price.

Re:Forward thinkers (1)

schon (31600) | more than 3 years ago | (#33670282)

That reminds me of when they started rolling out those club cards around here. The assertion was that they'd save you money if you allowed them to track your purchases. As it turned out virtually overnight the price on pretty much everything jumped drastically in price, leaving the club price suspiciously similar to the previous normal price.

It's pretty simple:

It costs money to maintain the "club". That money has to come from somewhere. At the beginning of the "club" it's paid for by non-members (sale items only apply to members.) As time passes, everybody who shops regularly becomes a member, which means that 99% of their customers get the "sale" price, which means that there's not enough non-members to cover the costs of the data collection.

The end result? Prices rise for everybody.

Where I live, there is one local grocer who doesn't have such a program. Their prices are less than all the stores which have the programs (usually, a "club card" sale price at another store is the same as the local grocer's regular price.)

They regularly get asked "when are you going to have a club card?"

People are such fucking morons.

Re:Forward thinkers (1)

the phantom (107624) | more than 3 years ago | (#33670004)

You are either very fast on the self checkout, or don't generally buy very much. Even when the self checkout works perfectly, and there are no hiccups that require the assistance of an attendant, I don't necessarily know where all of the bar codes are, and I am not as fast as any of the checkers that I have ever met. I would much rather have someone else scan my shit. Bagging, on the other hand, is a toss-up. I can do that only marginally slower than the local bag boys, and wouldn't mind if I had to bag.

So, while you are happy with self checkout, I much prefer to keep the checkers around. As you say, the choice is nice to have.

Re:Forward thinkers (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#33670124)

Both of those. Generally I don't buy much at a time, but also I can swipe things pretty fast by just guessing where the barcode will be and swirling it around in the general vicinity (helps that there are 2 scanners in the checkout as well and they can read codes from almost any angle).

Sometimes it's a pain getting a bag open, but other than that it's much easier to just drop stuff right into the bag than deal with it at a normal checkout. I only go to the normal checkout now when I buy age restricted stuff or stuff with security tags on it.

Re:Forward thinkers (1)

sirambrose (919153) | more than 3 years ago | (#33670262)

You can't scan items as fast as the cashier can. I used to be a cashier at a store. I could scan and bag one small item in one or two seconds. I can't scan that fast at the grocery store because the machine wont let me. After I scan one item, the scanner turns off for 4 seconds while the register verifies the weight of the item. At the larger self check lane I can't even bag my purchases while I scan them.

Re:Forward thinkers (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#33670350)

I buy very few items, and you really can't assume that all checkout workers prided themselves on speed as much as you do. I've dealt with some reaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaally slow checkout workers in my time, some obviously just new to the job, but some just slow. I prefer to do things myself, I can have the current item bagged and the next item in place ready to scan as soon as the machine has checked the weight of the last item.. it seems as fast or faster than a normal checkout to me when I get it smooth.

Re:Forward thinkers (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#33670168)

To be honest, the self check out systems have gotten a lot better in recent times. The main objection I have to them is that I don't think that they've really nailed the process of bulk foods. And really produce for that matter, the things where you have to type in some sort of code and weigh it.

It has gotten a lot better, and I suspect that they'll start using an electronic system which prints out a barcode with weight and product type on it in the relative near future.

Re:Forward thinkers (1)

immaterial (1520413) | more than 3 years ago | (#33670212)

I see you haven't been to an Ikea in the past year, because there (at least in the LA area) self-checkout IS mandatory (caveat: I haven't been in the past 6 months so possibly by now they've scrapped this abortion of an idea).

What's worse is they made it mandatory basically the moment they rolled it out. It was a shock when I first saw it. Where normally there'd be 3 or 4 normal checkout aisles open, there were 8 "self checkout" machines in groups of 4 each. Each group was staffed by a single person. Since the system was so new every other item people were scanning either came up wrong or didn't register at all, so every four customers had to wait their turn to get attention from a single employee, multiple times per transaction.

It was so bad I just assume they'd scrap it entirely, but they next time I went back about 3 months later it was the same - except instead of one employee per group of 4, they 'fixed' the situation by bumping it up to 3 employees per 4 self-checkouts. Seriously: instead of 3-4 checkout lanes run smoothly by 3-4 employees, they switched to 8 self-checkout lanes run halfassedly by a mixture of customers and 6 employees.

Now, the self-checkout at my local Home Depot runs great, and the company knows well enough that it's never going to get away with regular checkout aisles so there are always a couple available when necessary...

Re:Forward thinkers (1)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#33669626)

Better that than:
"Please say your account number now"
"12345"
"You said 'one' 'six' 'potato' 'beep' 'peanut', is this correct?"

Re:Forward thinkers (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 3 years ago | (#33670146)

The reason why we have a balance of power between the Judaical, Executive and Legislative branch. Is that Judaical branch will stop laws which are unconstitutional. Even if the other 2 branches are politically motivated to do such. Also why the Judaical branch isn't elected so they are not pressured in a way that they will loose their job for insulting any other member in the government.

So we got a lot of senators saying a lot of things... Most of it doesn't even get to real bill or even if it is added to a bill, if it is unconstitutional that part can be removed.

Politicians and Competition (1)

topham (32406) | more than 3 years ago | (#33669588)

They wanted to ban it because the operators were pooling information and providing it to various companies and politicians.

Re:Politicians and Competition (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33669634)

Really???

Remember when we had self-dial modems, rather than the auto dial? That was because the government-created monopoly ATT (aka Bell) would not allow devices to hook directly to the line. THEN the next thing they tried to do was impose a $10 modem fee on my line (because modems are on 10, 20, or even 24 hours a day - thereby overloading the line). I denied ever having a modem, which of course was a blatant lie, but I don't care.

Re:Politicians and Competition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33670280)

No, you're confusing acoustic couplers with non-dialing modems. The only reason for non-dialing modems was lower cost.

Luddites (4, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33669598)

"Gotta save those phone operators jobs!" This is really no different than those backwards member states (i.e. OR and NJ) that don't allow self-pumping of gasoline. They probably would outlaw self-dialing too if they had thought of it.

Every time I drive through NJ I pump my own gas, not because I'm anti-full service, but because they move so damn slow. I have better things to do than sit in my car for ten minutes waiting for an attendant to show up, especially if I still have a 2 hour drive ahead of me.

Re:Luddites (1)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 3 years ago | (#33669804)

I know it costs OR gas stations revenue, especially near the borders. Whenever I have to drive through OR I gas up right on the border, and I wouldn't pay for gas in OR unless I was there for more than a day. And while I know the plural of anecdote is not data, I also know others who do the same.

Re:Luddites (1)

samkass (174571) | more than 3 years ago | (#33669970)

It's the opposite here, since NJ gas taxes are very low. It can easily be 10% cheaper to buy gas in NJ than in NY, NJ, or MD. (NJ would rather fund the roads using tolls than gas taxes.)

Re:Luddites (1)

swanzilla (1458281) | more than 3 years ago | (#33669832)

Every time I drive through NJ I pump my own gas...

I once removed a tag from a mattress. I guess you have me beat.

Re:Luddites (1)

Relic of the Future (118669) | more than 3 years ago | (#33669834)

"Every time I drive through NJ I pump my own gas"

Where in NJ are you that they let you get away with that? I've seen people shouted down for getting out of the car to buy a drink, just because the attendants *thought* the person was going to pump their own gas.

Re:Luddites (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33669894)

I live in South Jersey. I pump my own gas. Not because I'm anti-service either, but because I don't trust anybody to properly put my gas cap back on. Every time I let someone else do it, they either forget to put it on crooked, leave it unlocked, or forget to close the gas door. I generally get gas at one location (I don't drive very far) and they know me well enough to let me pump my own gas. All you have to do is say, "this thing's a pain in the ass, let me do it." or "save your strength, I got it." and you're clear.

Re:Luddites (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33669862)

why would anyone go to New Jersey,
to see the toll booths ?
to pay for beach access ?
or to see the bad copy of Las Vegas ?

save your money, go anywhere else.

jr

Re:Luddites (1)

mooingyak (720677) | more than 3 years ago | (#33669898)

There are some interesting things to do that are easiest to get to by cutting through NJ.

Re:Luddites (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33669874)

I've been a New Jersey resident for ~10 years. You're definitely full of crap because you would told be to STFU and sit back in your vehicle if you actually tried to pump your own gas. If you did not comply you'd be refused service and told to leave.

Re:Luddites (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33670078)

Wow, you guys sure are fucked up.

Re:Luddites (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33669926)

Michigan is the last "Pricing Law" state, meaning EVERYTHING on the shelf must be priced or face fines from the Department of Agriculture. They claim it helps to create jobs, when the reality of it is, the small to mid-size stores never get hit, and they go after the BIG guys whenever the budget is running short (i.e. constantly). More associates aren't hired as a result of this, rather, less freight gets moved out on a daily basis due to budgets and then customers complain whenever they can't find anything.

The cases-per-hour for a Walmart associate outside of Michigan: 60.
The cases-per-hour for a Walmart associate in Michigan: 35.

Figure 5 hours for true stocking in any given shift means 300 cases min/hr, vs. 175 min/hr. It really is an antiquated law, that makes even putting things on sale a burden to the store and it's associates (Ever have to re-price 600 Yoplait cups from .55 to .50? An epic waste of time).

Re:Luddites (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 3 years ago | (#33670172)

10 minutes break is a good thing to have if you have 2 hours drive in front of you. I fill up about 1 time a week and if I could save somebodies job by waiting 10 minutes, I would gladly do that.

news for nerds (2, Insightful)

Briden (1003105) | more than 3 years ago | (#33669602)

news for nerds, stuff that matters. from 1930.

Does this (1)

KillaGouge (973562) | more than 3 years ago | (#33669612)

Does this really surprise anybody. They seem like a lazy bunch to me, not trying to troll. They have reduced the filibuster to just having to say you are going to filibuster, and they go about their business. I also believe that people will use the government wanting to ban websites as an example of us moving forward to socialism.

Re:Does this (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#33670226)

I'm not sure that it's so much a matter of sloth as it is a decided lack of guts. Right now the Democrats could very easily tell the Republicans to put up or shut up if they're going to filibuster, and actually make them follow through on it, I just don't think that they have the guts to do it.

The unfortunate problem is that the Republicans are doing what they've been doing now for a few decades which is screwing over the other party so that they look somewhat less incompetent while railing on the federal government's incompetence.

Remember, we're talking about the U.S. Senate (4, Insightful)

Just_Say_Duhhh (1318603) | more than 3 years ago | (#33669638)

Just because they didn't want to lift a finger to do something as simple as dial a telephone, that doesn't mean they need to ban it for the rest of us. The Senate is FAMOUS for passing laws that affect them (or affect everyone except them - you know, we get Social Security, they get a really sweet pension).

If they deem a website to be "bad", I have no problem with them blocking it from their own servers, but leave me alone. I can block things at my router quite easily, thank you. Should I be afraid that the Senate will try to ban toilet paper, because they can't manage to wipe their own asses?

Re:Remember, we're talking about the U.S. Senate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33669890)

They already have lobbyists who do that for them...

with their tongues.

Re:Remember, we're talking about the U.S. Senate (4, Informative)

FunkyMarcus (182120) | more than 3 years ago | (#33669918)

This was a resolution. They were only banning their own dial telephones.

Re:Remember, we're talking about the U.S. Senate (2, Interesting)

Just_Say_Duhhh (1318603) | more than 3 years ago | (#33669948)

But according to TFA...

Now, it's true that the resolution only impacted the Senate -- but when another Senator asked why they didn't ban dial phones from all of Washington DC, Senator Carter Glass from Virginia who sponsored the resolution apparently said that "he hoped the phone company would take the hint," and would remove all dial phones.

Do you want your local supermarket to "get the hint" and stop selling toilet paper?

Re:Remember, we're talking about the U.S. Senate (1)

Trevorm7 (1082535) | more than 3 years ago | (#33669950)

Should I be afraid that the Senate will try to ban toilet paper, because they can't manage to wipe their own asses?

They probably already have rolls of money that they use for that.

Re:Remember, we're talking about the U.S. Senate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33670060)

Don't forget how Pelosi burned her finger on an incandescent light bulb and is now going to ban them by 2014. I guess some bitches must need totalitarian government in order to not f#$% up their own lives or burn their precious fingers. How about we just get them a shock collar and leave everyone else alone?

I don't get it. (4, Insightful)

twidarkling (1537077) | more than 3 years ago | (#33669656)

There's a massive difference between banning a technology and censoring websites. The reasoning behind each is different, the methodology, and the possible reactions and methods of circumvention. About the only parallel is "government doing thing that it really shouldn't be."

They're not even talking about banning a technology this time. It's not like they're saying "ban the Internet." This is a really weak excuse to bash the government and bring up something ridiculous and idiotic from the past. Do people really need an excuse to bash the government? Aren't there enough legitimate reasons to complain? Do we really need a story going "Look, you think censorship on the web is bad? 80 years ago, they were too lazy to dial their own damn phones! Isn't government so damn wacky?"

Just think... (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 3 years ago | (#33669678)

Just think how much faster we might have gotten voice recognition if touchpads had been banned.

...and the hilarity that could result.

"Call my neighbor Jim Pine."

"Calling naughty neighbors sex line"

(Cue laugh track.)

False (4, Informative)

canajin56 (660655) | more than 3 years ago | (#33669726)

They tried to make the telephone company put back the non-dial phones IN THE SENATE ITSELF. This is similar to me demanding that the phone company turn off my call display, and Slashdot running the story as "Slashdot user attempts to ban call display!!" No attempt was made to ban them.

Re:False (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#33670108)

To the slight credit of the editor, you'd also have to hope the phone company would "take the hint and ban all call displays," for that metaphor to work...

Now, it's true that the resolution only impacted the Senate -- but when another Senator asked why they didn't ban dial phones from all of Washington DC, Senator Carter Glass from Virginia who sponsored the resolution apparently said that "he hoped the phone company would take the hint," and would remove all dial phones.

But yeah, this is a misleading headline.

Re:False (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 3 years ago | (#33670194)

"Slashdot user attempts to ban call display!!". Please let nobody submit this to slashdot as it might be on in two days when some 'editor' presses OK to post the story.

Butlers at your gasstation? (1)

santax (1541065) | more than 3 years ago | (#33669802)

Dear US friends... Help me out here. I am a male that has seen 2 centuries. I am older than 30 but younger than 50. I have never ever seen someone fill up my car. You drive up to a gas station here, get out of the car, put the nozzle in, go inside and pay. But you guys actually have states were it is illegal to fill up your own car? Why? 'They took our jobs'-argument or is there something more behind it? Last couple of years you see here in the Netherlands more and more gasstations that don't have any personal. You put in your creditcard or banking-card and there you go, you can fill her up. I would feel so uncomfortable to let somebody else fill up my car.

Re:Butlers at your gasstation? (1)

santax (1541065) | more than 3 years ago | (#33669822)

personal = employees. My bad.

Re:Butlers at your gasstation? (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 3 years ago | (#33670002)

The only states that do it are New Jersey and Oregon, and they generally allow "mini service", in which the only thing the attendant does is turn the pump off and on. They usually claim that it's for safety reasons, ie. not letting untrained people pump a highly-flammable and potentially-explosive fluid into a tank, but Oregon also says it's for the jobs. And yes, it's seen as somewhat old-fashioned, if not backward, by most other states.

PS: I believe the word you were looking for was "personnel".

Re:Butlers at your gasstation? (1)

santax (1541065) | more than 3 years ago | (#33670058)

Ah, ok thank you too! Yeah for me it's weird. I have never seen that, since I was kid it was normal to fill up your own tanks here. But I sort of can understand the safety-motive (not really because well, It's safe enough given the complete lack of accidents here at the pump) but I can understand it. If only to protect people from inhaling the fumes :P

Re:Butlers at your gasstation? (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 3 years ago | (#33670264)

To be fair, I live in the US as well, and it's news to me that NJ and Oregon have such idiotic laws. I guess now I know to refuse to buy gas in those states if at all possible.

Re:Butlers at your gasstation? (1)

santax (1541065) | more than 3 years ago | (#33670342)

Make sure you have enough in your tank when you cross those states? ;)

Re:Butlers at your gasstation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33670216)

the only "bad" was a spelling mistake. (Personell)

Re:Butlers at your gasstation? (1)

santax (1541065) | more than 3 years ago | (#33670294)

thanks :) My English isn't all that great, so I am sure there are plenty more mistakes! This one I just happen to notice myself, albeit a bit late.

Re:Butlers at your gasstation? (1)

twidarkling (1537077) | more than 3 years ago | (#33669936)

Canadian, but as I understand from some US friends, it's because gasoline is a hazardous substance, and so it's some attempt to minimize accidents, moreso than protecting jobs.

Re:Butlers at your gasstation? (1)

santax (1541065) | more than 3 years ago | (#33669988)

ah ok, that actually is a reasonable point of view. Thanks for explaining!

Re:Butlers at your gasstation? (3, Insightful)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 3 years ago | (#33670228)

It's actually not. It's a bullshit excuse to pass protectionist policies, of the same kind that New York used to pass a law saying every automobile needed to be preceded by someone carrying flags to warn people it was coming: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_flag_laws [wikipedia.org]

The proof is that there are not mass casualties across the world from gasoline pump accidents as compared to Oregon and New Jersey.

Re:Butlers at your gasstation? (2, Insightful)

z-j-y (1056250) | more than 3 years ago | (#33670056)

it's only hazardous for retarded people. retarded people shouldn't drive, if we have DMV that's working.

Re:Butlers at your gasstation? (2, Informative)

eLDaai (1875668) | more than 3 years ago | (#33670254)

Off topic and ranting but..

I recently moved to Oregon from another state. If you were here, and asked why someone has to pump your gas - you will be told immediately not that 'gasoline is dangerous', but that the legislation 'creates jobs'. I often pull into an empty gas station and need to wait up to 10 minutes just for someone to swipe my credit card in the machine for me, press the button that corresponds to the grade of fuel I prefer, lift the nozzle from the machine and place it in my tank hole. They then wander off to service the next person. The pump will run more slowly if the station is busy as the attendant ineffectively tries to manage his workload by making the time to fill longer. Often when the pump does stop, you will have to remain seated for another 2 minutes before they remember to return and replace the nozzle in the pump. I drive an older car - and have actually had professional gas attendants forget to replace my gas cap before I drive off. Also, the argument could be made that this is actually more dangerous because the pump is not constantly observed / managed / stood near by the individual who is also concerned for the car. It's a wonderful example of how government can create jobs by injecting inefficiency into a market - ultimately wasting time and money that I would posit could more effectively be utilized in a free-er market.

In summary - it's just as ridiculous as it sounds.

Re:Butlers at your gasstation? (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 3 years ago | (#33669978)

Ostensibly, the reason is that you are handling dangerous chemicals that could explode. The real reason is to keep jobs. But yes, there are states where the law is that individuals may not pump their own gas from public gas stations (you could own your own gas pump, though.)

Successful ban... (1)

dtjohnson (102237) | more than 3 years ago | (#33669810)

some Senators came close to banning the dial telephone

Maybe they did ban them cuz there are no more dial telephones.

They still work better (1)

jabberw0k (62554) | more than 3 years ago | (#33670164)

My 1955 Western Electric Model 500 black desk set works wonderfully in my living room, and is the only one in the house I let ring, for its wonderful sound.

Fun times... (1)

airfoobar (1853132) | more than 3 years ago | (#33669836)

...will be in another 80 years when our children are looking back and thinking "Man, back in 2010 did those savages really try to block parts of the internet?? How ridiculous!"

Re:Fun times... (1)

santax (1541065) | more than 3 years ago | (#33669952)

If they are allowed to read it and learn about like we were. Really history will be very interesting for future generations. Up until 1900 every government kept tracks of their wars and dirty shit. That's the stuff we read about in the books today. But rest assured that since World War 1 nations are actively involved in trying to hide information forever, every 'secret service' will not have records on the more important and crazy operations. Afraid they would ever become public, not realizing that in 100 years, no one will give a shit. it's a shame really. But you are 100% right though, not sure if it will be about this particular subject, but in general... they will laugh at our medical knowledge, the way we provide ourself with energy and probably every other 'high-tech' thingie we have now, hell I wouldn't be surprised if between now and then some research will prove that magnetic and electric radiation is actually bad for people and they will laugh at us, holding up that mobile against our ears, when it's not tucked away next to your balls.

Profanity (0, Troll)

jabberw0k (62554) | more than 3 years ago | (#33670210)

Where's the -1 Profanity Ruins Perfectly Good Argument moderation?

That's not why they tried to ban it in 1930 (2, Interesting)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 3 years ago | (#33669870)

They tried to ban the dial telephone because the operator's union had a lot of clout in congress and was afraid of losing jobs.

Remember, every piece of legislation that goes through congress has a special interest group behind it.

Re:That's not why they tried to ban it in 1930 (1)

hibiki_r (649814) | more than 3 years ago | (#33670310)

Pf cpurse there is one behind every bill: No matter what bill could possibly write, there'd always be winners and losers, and people like legislation that lets them win. This also happens when you remove legislation: The previous winners are now losers, and the former losers become winners.

The trick is to find the optimal legislation, where we win more than we lose.

Sounds right (1)

z-j-y (1056250) | more than 3 years ago | (#33669996)

This is not too ridiculous in America. There are laws that dictate certain services with certain level of compliance. We must protect the consumers!

In Oregon you cannot pump your own gas, because, pumping gas is such a highly skilled work, it's dangerous, and drivers shouldn't be bothered by it, and Evil Big Gas Stations are not allowed to force their customers to do such labors.

Fix the Constitution (2, Funny)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#33670026)

Given the fact that US economy is being destroyed because of the huge monthly trade deficit, caused by the US labor force being uncompetitive, which all came around due to government regulations, taxation, wage laws, subsidies, monopoly creation, setting interest rates, printing of money, waging wars, destruction of competition etc., the US Constitution needs to be fixed. Without a basic fix to it, the economy will continue plummet, until the hyper-inflationary depression hits and then a long restructuring process will start probably following a period of very bad civil unrest possibly with lots of intermediary bloodshed.

Here is the fix (and I am not a lawyer, so this needs to be solidified to fit both the letter and the spirit)

Congress shall pass no law, that changes the status of any entity in a way that allows that entity to get any preferential treatment in economy.

What I am trying to say is that government must not be able to affect economy through any law, this way no matter how much money is spent bribing the government, it's of no use and cannot result in a favorable economic outcome for those, who are doing the bribing.

This concerns anything at all that deals with economy, be it minimum wage, social security, income taxes, corporate welfare, bailouts, stimulus packages, setting interest rates, printing money (all this should be privatized), creating federal institutions that insure any type of lending or borrowing or depositing or any other moral hazard.

Gov't shouldn't be able to change the economic outcome by providing any monopolistic powers, providing exclusive trading rights, creating any discrimination in the market place, setting any laws that fix prices or contracts or whatever.

I hope my point is clear and obviously again, I am not a lawyer.

This is the only way to keep economy Free and going and not having it broken by various violent intervention by a government, which clearly ends up badly.

Pro-Ban (1)

LordHatrus (763508) | more than 3 years ago | (#33670214)

See, you can say this like it's a bad thing, but the concept of phone numbers is /retarded/. Why should you have to know some arcane, difficult to remember internal routing ID of a phone subscriber just to call them? It's like, instead of having DNS, you have to put in every IP address manually for any server/website you wish to visit. Sure, you can have a phone book, but this is like just putting an entry in /etc/hosts; it's definitely a horrible solution to a now-solved problem. If the Senate had banned phone numbers, that would have forced the phone companies to create something better. A kind of Telephone Name Service of sorts.

Re:Pro-Ban (2, Funny)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#33670286)

Ping Bob.Jones.SanFransisco.USA

"Hello?"

"Sorry Bob, just seeing if this damned handset works."

but for corporations that would be ok (1)

Jodka (520060) | more than 3 years ago | (#33670314)

It is not like legislators and bureaucrats magically improve when they switch from regulating consumers to regulating industry. Government regulation of business is equally as idiotic as is its attempts to regulate individual citizens. Yet it is more pervasive because corporations make easier targets for politicians than your grandmother. Also, corporate regulation is less visible since it impinges on specific business and not the population as a whole.

People who advocate for more regulation of corporations should consider that the quality of the regulation which the government supplies is going to be the same quality as banning rotary phones. Even if in advocating for regulation you have some simple goal, such as compelling your ISP to charge you lower rates, what you are actually going to get is ineffective nonsense. Simple, traditional, transparent laws outlawing crimes such as embezzlement, murder, extortion, fraud and theft are necessary and sufficient whereas regulation is almost always a net disimprovement.

Ironically -- it was about jobs then too (1)

NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) | more than 3 years ago | (#33670330)

In the 1920's, AT&T, who was growing like a weed by gobbling up LECs, determined that it would eventually need two million operators to service the hundred million domestic and international customers. Using humans as switches meant that average call setup times were in minutes, not seconds. This prompted them to invent the panel switch, which eventually eliminated thousands of operators. That may have prompted the Senators' response.
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