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Have you stood in a checkout line and watched  the person in front of you fumble around for their coupons, then tried to pay their bill with Chinese Yuan?

Or watched as the person in front of you hunted around for their credit card and couldn't find it?

You are seeing an example of "Checkout Transactional Complexity" or CTC.

What is CTC?

Every person has a level of how simple or complicated their lives are. Some people can get right to the point, deal with something, and move on. Other people make mountains out of mole hills.

The differences between how people run their lives are most obvious in supermarket checkout lines

People who approach life as a massively complex series of issues and decisions will take up to 10 times as long to be processed through the checkout line as those who are focused and in total control of their destiny.

How did we figure this out?

We learned this from a checkout person at the local supermarket, who started rating customers on their "Checkout Transactional Complexity". In other words, how hard it was to get the customer processed and out the door.

"Some people, they even have all their groceries lined up so I can run all the cat food cans over the scanner, and then the produce, and they never have coupons, they have swiped their store card and their debit card before I finish the checking out, and they even help bag their stuff and never need assistance getting out to their car," said our checkout expert who asked to remain anonymous to avoid being fired.

"And then there's the person who has a basket full of groceries, who wants to split them up into three different sales, who has coupons, who wants to use Chinese yaun for payment along with food stamps and a gift card, who can't find anything in his wallet or her purse, who has their own bags to put the stuff in, and who needs 2 people to carry out all the stuff," she added.

"The first person I described is a 1 in CTC, and the second person with the Chinese currency is a 10," she added.

Doubtless there are vast differences in the two people in how they conduct therest of their daily lives.

In fact, in a series of totally anecdotal studies, the General Delivery University School of Store Geography and Psychology followed various supermarket customers home to see if their Checkout Transactional Complexity rating was indicative of differences in overall lifestyle complexity. Medical and criminal records of these subjects were also illegally obtained.

"We discovered that people in the 7 to 10 CTC range were indeed living excessively complicated lives, and suffered from more stress related illness," said Fred Finnebreaker, head of the GDU Store Geography program. "We saw a lot of cats in their homes, too."

Interestingly, the lower rated CTC people had much more simplistic lives, but a higher level of criminality.

"We saw the 1 through 3 CTC people as having lots of speeding tickets," Finnebreaker said.

CTC ratings of 4 through 6 were considered normal in the study.

"Maybe 60% of the population lands between a 4 and 6, and they wander all over that range because some days just are more difficult than others," said Finnebreaker.

""Most of the 5 and 6's are caused by the store not having uniform price codes on the item being checked, or the item not being in the store computer requiring a price check," said our curious clerk.

"You know you are having a bad day when you have three people ahead of you in line, all holding coupons, and arguing with a family member in a foreign language," said our secretive store clerk.

The  desire to fire as many floor staff as possible to save money and increase corporate profits has lead many retail chains to put in self-checkout systems.

"If someone is a high CTC rated person, that will likely end up requiring human intervention," said a spokesperson for a major national chain who would not allow their name to be used in our story.

"But we can get rid of everyone from a 1 to a 7 via the self checkout systems," said the chain spokesperson. "And then we only need 2 or 3 live employees requiring health insurance to process the high CTC people."

"They have put the self scanners in our store, which means us checkout clerks have a much higher percentage of really complicated checkouts to process with some really disturbed people," said our store clerk sources. "We should get combat pay."

Do you know what your CTC rating is?

Next time while you are standing in line at a supermarket, rate how easy or difficult each check out was in front of you, then ask the checkout person about what he or she just experienced.

Then watch what you are doing.