I love life hacks -- a strategy or technique adopted in order to manage one's time and daily activities in a more efficient way.

Some of my favorites include putting a wooden spoon across a boiling pan of water or other liquid so it doesn't boil over, using toothpaste to clean your sneakers (or restore your headlights), and using a cup of water in the microwave when reheating leftover pizza to keep it from getting soggy.

But here's a new one that actually could save your life -- or at least keep you from getting a huge stomachache.

Power outages happen occasionally, especially in the wintertime, and the biggest hit is not to our video game time, but rather the food we store in our freezer.

If the power goes out for a time, the food in your freezer may thaw out, creating a bonanza for bacterial growth. When the power goes back on, the food refreezes with all that bacteria present.

If you're away at work or otherwise, you may not know it even happened.

But here's a simple tip to help you root out that bacteria.

Freeze a cup of water and place it in your freezer. Place a coin on top of the ice.

Then, if the power goes out long enough for the water to melt, the coin will drop to the bottom of the cup. When you return home and find the coin at the bottom of the cup, you'll know the food in your freezer has probably been compromised and is not safe to eat.

It's a simple tip, but could definitely save you some stomach issues in the future.

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Sick Of Self Checkout? These Stores Are Listening

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The complaints are numerous when it comes to self checkout lanes in stores.

"It's too impersonal."

"It always glitches out."

"I hate having to scan things myself."

"Why is it telling me that I have to bag my gallon of milk?"

It won't take my discount/coupon."

And the list could go on and on.

Finally, some stores are listening. Led by the British supermarket chain Booths, retailers worldwide are starting to rethink the idea of self checkout.

Along with our complaints, many retail stores are finding the incidents of theft on the rise, or more accurately, the incidents of undercharging. Basically, some customers are getting more expensive items than they are paying for by purposely scanning the wrong bar codes.

Slowness has also been a problem, especially when it comes to buying items like alcohol or tobacco that require age verificati9n by a store associate.

In the United States, Walmart, Costco, Wegmans and other chains are revising their self-checkout strategies.

Walmart has removed self checkout lines in many of its New Mexico stores and promises more nationwide in the future. Costco is adding more employees in the "self checkout area" to expedite the process and Shoprite stores are also making moves to take out self checkouts.

The Atlantic sums it up nicely.

You know how this process actually goes by now: You still have to wait in line. The checkout kiosks bleat and flash when you fail to set a purchase down in the right spot. Scanning those items is sometimes a crapshoot—wave a barcode too vigorously in front of an uncooperative machine, and suddenly you’ve scanned it two or three times. Then you need to locate the usually lone employee charged with supervising all of the finicky kiosks, who will radiate exasperation at you while scanning her ID badge and tapping the kiosk’s touch screen from pure muscle memory. If you want to buy something that even might carry some kind of arbitrary purchase restriction—not just obvious things such as alcohol, but also products as seemingly innocuous as a generic antihistamine—well, maybe don’t do that.

All these moves do not signal the end of self checkout, but at least retailers are recognizing that the system as it is does not work. It is broken and needs fixing.

What that will take is anyone's guess, but at least they're acknowledging there is a problem.

Some common (and funny) memes about self checkout:

  • City of Lewisville Franco Zacco @ I was thrown out of the break room of my Walmart yesterday. They asked me what I was doing there. I told them I was on a break. They said you don't work here. I said I'd just finished using the self checkout so clearly I do.
  • FINALLY, MADE EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH EMPLOYEE OF THE SELF CHECK
  • What I look like What! look like in in my mind the Target self- checkout camera
  • Finally a self checkout I can actually use. SELF CHECKOUT "a I
  • The cashier at Walmart said that's $120" Girl gimme my money back I'm going to self-checkout
  • jordan Every time I use self-checkout, the person in front of me has never used self-checkout, touchscreens, or money before
  • walmart, selfcheckout, irony, ironic, jobs, itdobelikethatsometimes, itreallydo
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