Monday, 17th May 2004
The entrence of the supermarket has two types of baskets: big and small. Chosing one is easy. It is my experience that the small basket is the perfect size for me. Groceries from a small basket fit exactly into my small backpack.

At the cashier all groceries exit the basket. There is a pile of empty baskets of the customers before me. Sometimes this is a neat pile, but most of the time it is chaotic.

The chaos is easily explained. Customers try to create one pile of baskets.

  1. :) Big into big fits.
  2. :) Small into big fits.
  3. :) Small into small fits.
  4. :( But big into small leads to chaos.
This looks like chances for chaos are one out of four. But a pile of 5 baskets has a large chance for chaos as shown by the following table:
Number of baskets Chances for neatness Chances for chaos
1 100% :):):):):):):):):):) 0%
2 75% :):):):):):):):) :(:( 25%
3 50% :):):):):) :(:(:(:(:( 50%
4 31% :):):) :(:(:(:(:(:(:( 69%
5 19% :):) :(:(:(:(:(:(:(:( 81%

What to do?


  1. Long live the users of small baskets. They never turn neatness into chaos.
  2. Don't strive for unrealistic order, but accept a bit of chaos.
I'm not chaotic, but realistic!

Till next nut,