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Diet As You Check Out? (And Yes, Bag Your Own)

Friday, 7 Sep 2007 | 2:05 PM ET
Self-checkout lane
Self-checkout lane

Wanna lose weight? Use the "self check-out" line at the grocery store. That's according to a survey done on, wait, what's this? A survey determining that "self check-out" is great?! (By the way, it's great if you have less than five items and none of them involve produce--last time I tried to "self-check" the zucchini, I got carpal tunnel syndrome).

The study, done by IHL Consulting, says one reason self check-out is great is because the average woman could lose 4.1 pounds a year scanning and bagging her own! Not because of the extra calories that would burn, but because there are fewer "impulse items" available for sale at self-checkout aisles. They're not as "merchandised."

While going through the regular, staffed check-out lines, "The average woman in the study claimed to purchase and consume over 14,300 calories" in a year from candy bars or whatever. Well, duh. You end up standing there waiting as the customer in front of you gets out her checkbook (who's still writing checks?!) only after the last item is scanned. She can't find a pen. She questions the total. It takes her a half-friggin-hour to write the check. What are you supposed to do after reading all the tabloid headlines posted in front of you? You buy and eat a candy bar! The candy bar people put customers like her in line on purpose! I'm convinced of it.

Perhaps the fat police can sue grocery stores for this. Meantime, if the candy bar industry feels threatened by lost sales at the self check-out line...one natural solution is to start "merchandising" that aisle, too. Believe me, I need a treat after trying to price that zucchini.

SPEAKING OF ZUCCHINIS...sort of
The owner of an Oakland, CA, construction company is breathing easier after he was acquitted of charges of indecent exposure. The guy likes to build things nude.

Percy Honniball (ok, charges should be brought up on the last name) was acquitted after convincing the judge he didn't intend to be lewd. He just likes to build cabinets and tables and bookcases...without wearing clothes...while inside peoples' houses. He didn't know people were looking at him. Honniball was apparently charged three times before in nearby Berkeley for the same thing. And if they're upset about nudity IN BERKELEY, well, it must've been flagrant.

Honniball's attorney tells the Bay City News Service that his client "has decided that although what he did was not illegal, it's probably prudent to wear clothes while he works so he doesn't face legal hassles again." Does his bond cover that?

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  • Based in Los Angeles, Jane Wells is a CNBC business news reporter and also writes the Funny Business blog for CNBC.com.

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