people planning such a supply chain system this would be considered common sense.
To a patent official who may or may not get confused trying to find the "any key", it is rocket science.
OK I exaggerate the incompetence level of the average patent official to some small extent. But it does seem to me a certain kind of expertise is missing from amongst their ranks.
Turn the items in the shopping list into queued data requests from a browser for instance and it starts to look how routing on the Internet works.
At the risk of becoming even more abstract...T o a living room designer this kind of a system would be called Feng´-shu`i.