Subject: Tea in 5 minutes 
Date: Thu, 22 Feb 2001 15:55:02 -0500
From: Marc Pickett I 

Dear Consumer,

Did you ever wonder what your Stop & Shop or Big Y card is for?  Well,
you may have guessed that Stop & Shop keeps track of all your
purchases in a huge database.  Then they perform clustering and rule
finding algorithms on this data.

Before we became Tea Totallers, a typical purchase for 1 of us would
be 36 boxes of Macaroni and Cheese (the cheap kind), 6 boxes of Ramen
noodles, 36 cans of Tuna, and a 6 pack of Mt. Dew.  The noodles and
cheese put us firmly in the "Grad Student" cluster.  (No, it's not
really named, since the algorithms are unsupervised, but that's what
the label would be.)  The Mt. Dew put us firmly in the "CS Grad
Student" subcluster.

So when the Tea Totallers goto* Stop & Shop to buy cookies, they throw
a wrench into the data mining system.  The system wonders "Why is this
'CS Grad Student' element paying $40 on luxurious cookies?".  This
makes things go a bit awry.  Consequently, Stop & Shop may start
putting the bleu cheese next to the Twix (to catch us in impulse

Eventually, with the help of people such as David Jensen (who's
sponsoring this week's tea), data mining algorithms will become
sophisticated enough to make a proper "Tea Totallers" cluster, and the
arrangement of Stop & Shop will be sane again.  Until then, exploit
the fruits of confusing Stop & Shop's database, and come to tea NOW.

    We are, 
           ``The Tea Totallers''
    Marc Pickett I   and   Pippin Wolfe

* This spelling of "go to" is a habit from the author's BASIC days.
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