Grocers Warn About Lottery Lines at Market Checkout Counters

Times Staff Writer

The eagerly awaited debut of the California lottery may be a mixed blessing for those who find supermarket checkout counters intolerably slow. A warning has been sounded by a state grocers organization over potential problems arising from the high-stakes game's implementation.

The California Grocers Assn. recently issued a report that suggests longer and slower supermarket checkout lines may be the result of poorly organized lottery ticket sales.

The food retailers are concerned because a significant percentage of the $1.7 billion in projected ticket sales during the lottery's first year are likely to be sold in supermarkets.

A gridlock at the checkout stand is foreseen with a crush of consumers vying for lucky numbers coupled with others simply wanting to bring home the day's fresh catch.

Some of the recommendations made by the grocers' panel: Ensure tickets are the same shape, size and price; keep prizes for instant winners at $25 or less, and allow only one game (several will be offered in the lottery) to be sold from check stands.

There will, however, be some compensation for grocers whose operations are inconvenienced by the lottery: Sellers receive a 5% commission on ticket sales from the game's operators.

A Topless Appeal--Food trade organizations are constantly researching ways to increase sales of their products. Often the means for developing a bigger market share is tied into consumer surveys.

The U.S. Trout Farmers Assn. recently completed a study of consumer attitudes about trout in several cities, including Los Angeles. They found that their fish did have a few image problems.

Those consumers polled felt that farm-raised trout was often packaged in an unattractive way. Moreover, those questioned said that the most unappealing feature of the fish was that it was frequently sold with the head on.

A less-than-surprising conclusion stated, "A majority of (the) men and women surveyed preferred trout without the head."

Best Sellers?--News organizations are sent caseloads of new books by publishers hoping for favorable reviews that might help sales. Several recent titles warrant a mention because of their unique subject matter.

The National Literary Guild recently published a paperback sure to capture the attention of aspiring restaurant magnates. The book is "Sambo's: Only a Fraction of the Action." The Charles Berstein effort is subtitled, "The Inside Story of a Restaurant Empire's Rise and Fall." The book will certainly be of interest for all those former Sambo's employees who were laid off during the company's long financial problems.

With little deference to Andy Warhol, the Campbell's Soup Co. has compiled a list of recipes for a new book with a cover that looks very much like a tomato soup can label. The title is "Campbell's Creative Cooking With Soup" (Beekman House: $9.98). Not surprisingly, every recipe calls for a can or so of Campbell's soup.

There won't be a book-signing party to celebrate the company's newest effort because no author is listed on any of the title pages.

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