Facial tissues are the generic term for Kleenex; cola is the generic term for Coca-Cola and Pepsi.
Is there a generic term for a deli-counter numbering machine?
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When I ran a Google search just now, I obtained the following results at my time and location:
"ticket dispenser" — 224,000 hits
"take a number dispenser" — 17,600 hits
"number dispenser" — 12,000 hits
"number ticket dispenser" — 93 hits
"ticket number dispenser" — 38 hits
"take a ticket dispenser" — 17 hits.
Some of those totals will be inflated by spurious matches because the context is different to what the questioner has in mind. To pluck an example out of the air, a string like "random number dispenser" (which gets 14 hits) would logically also have been counted in the search for "number dispenser".
So bear that caveat in mind: these totals are just a rough guide, not a scientifically validated result.
The crudeness of the "Google total" method is demonstrated by the paradoxical results for "take a number dispenser" (17,600 hits) versus "number dispenser" (12,000 hits).
The search for the string "number dispenser" is less restrictive than the one for "take a number dispenser", yet it achieves 5600 less hits. This makes no logical sense.
I'd love to know why the Google search algorithm produces anomalous results like this.
Probably a number dispenser:
- Provide fair, organized, and efficient customer service with a number dispenser! A ticket dispenser machine is a great way to organize a line of customers as they wait to be served at your grocery store, market, deli, or sandwich shop.
A Google search for the exact phrase "take a number for service" draws "About 330,000 matches," although the actual number of unique entries not "very similar to the [ones] already displayed" is closer to 50. In any case, the first three matches returned are ads for "Take a Number System," "Take a Ticket Systems," and "Take-A-Number System." So if you referred generically to a "take-a-number system," you would probably be understood at once by most of your readers or hearers.
This machine is specifically called a digital queue unit.
If you're interested in finding out more, my Google search resulted in this which looks exactly the same: