The Uses of the Tally Counter

Written by karen schultz
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The Uses of the Tally Counter
Tally counters are handheld devices used to count all sorts of things. (counter image by Richard Seeney from

If you have a job that requires counting individual items, then a tally counter will be an invaluable tool. Handheld tally clickers fit comfortably in the palm of the hand, and some include a ring that acts as an anchor around your index finger. Most units count from 0 to at least 9,999 in increments of 1, allowing for the user to add or subtract by pushing a button with the thumb. There is also a reset button to zero the unit out for a new count. Tally counters are inexpensive and come in manual (no battery), digital and smart phone applications. Tally counters are great for anything that requires manual counting.

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Count People

Workers whose job it is to count people find handheld tally counter devices very useful. Many businesses rely on tally counting for statistical information that impacts their staffing, hours of operation and inventory. Retailers employ people at the entrances to click off the number of shoppers entering the store to gather information about the total number of shoppers to compare with sales on financial reports. For capacity and fire safety reasons, restaurants and bars will count how many people are allowed in the door at one time. Likewise, employees at the entrances of large public places like museums, libraries and zoos count people in order to know how best to staff the location. If visitors come mostly at certain hours of the day, then the store can make sure to have enough workers available during those hours. Since rides at amusement parks have limited seats, workers need to know how many people in line can ride at one time.

Count Things

Many jobs require counting items. Workers can use the tally counters to count a certain kind of item being sold. Inventory employees use clickers to count items available in stock.

Traffic researchers use tally counters to count traffic at lights or at a particular intersection to count the number of cars passing through at certain times of day. Car park attendants use tally clickers to keep track of the number of cars that have entered the lot so that they know how many spaces are available at a particular time or if the lot is full.

Count Actions

Counting human behavioural actions is easy to do with incremental tally counters. Exercisers can use tally counters to count laps they walk or steps they take. Statisticians at sporting events use tally clickers to count pitches in baseball or passes in football. Public speaking groups use tally counters to count speech no-no's (such as "uh" and "ah") during presentations.

If you desire to change a person's behaviour, the first step is creating awareness of how often the inappropriate behaviour occurs. For example, parents can use a tally counter to count the number of tantrums their child throws. A therapist might ask a patient to use a tally counter to record behavioural tics in order to help the patient work to correct the behaviour.

Some people may find tally counters useful in their religion. For example, Hindus might use a tally counter to keep track of the number of times they chant their mantra each day.

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