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mySQL query, good data structure to handle an exception

Posted on 2015-01-21
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Last Modified: 2015-04-22
Hello SQL specialists,

I have a table with some prices, as follows:

City    Price  
-----   -----  
NY      17      
SF      16      
Moscow  12      
Lima     1      
Berlin  21      
-------------

When I want to find the price, I can handle the query, with the city name as input. No problem.
But now I need to deal with an exception: in only one city, the prices depend on some additional field:

City    Price   Buyers Age
-----   -----   ----------
NY      17      nil
SF      16      nil
Moscow  12      nil
Lima     1      nil
Berlin   5      Child
Berlin  21     MiddleAge
Berlin   7      Retired
--------------------------

Is there any way to make a query, with input Buyers Age and input City, and output price ?
Example: The buyers age is Child, and he is in Lima: what is the price ?

Should I somehow make a 2nd table, to solve it ?

Best regards, Sonja
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Question by:Sonja_M
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by:Dan Craciun
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SELECT Price FROM table WHERE BuyersAge = 'Child' AND City='Lima'

HTH,
Dan
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Author Comment

by:Sonja_M
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Hi Dan,

can you explain me your solution ?: is NIL matched to just anything ?

- Sonja
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by:Dan Craciun
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What's NIL got to do with anything?

The query will simply scan the table for any value 'Child' in the BuyersAge column, then take those results and do another scan in column City for 'Lima', then return the results.

If you plan to run that query often, I would add indexes on those columns.

Tip: you can always use EXPLAIN before a SELECT so MySQL will give you the execution plan for those queries.
EXPLAIN SELECT Price FROM table WHERE BuyersAge = 'Child' AND City='Lima'
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Author Comment

by:Sonja_M
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Dan,
thank you for your quick answer, however, according to your description of the scan, I would expect no matching record. So once again my question: does a not set value ("nil") just match to whatever value you have in the query ?
-Sonja
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by:Dan Craciun
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Nope. Using your sample data, the query will return no results, as there is no 'Child' in 'Lima'.

After the first condition, the result set will look like this:
City    Price   Buyers Age
-----   -----   ----------
Berlin   5      Child
--------------------------

Then MySQL will search for 'Lima' in the City column, will not find it and return no result.
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Author Comment

by:Sonja_M
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okay. This means that, after you indeed read my question, you see that your answers did not solve my question.
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Expert Comment

by:Dan Craciun
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OK. Then you'll have to rephrase the question.

This is what I read:
Example: The buyers age is Child, and he is in Lima: what is the price ?

The query in my first post answers that question. There is no child in Lima, so you'll get 0 rows back.
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Author Comment

by:Sonja_M
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no.
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by:Dan Craciun
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:))
Next mind reader, please :)
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Sonja_M earned 0 total points
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Dan, I have no time for those who answer before reading the question. Goodbye.
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by:Dan Craciun
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This is usually called "the curse of knowledge".

You spent some time pondering this question, so it's obvious to you. The key word here is "you".

The rest of us have to figure the problem based on what you wrote.
For the next person that will read this thread, please try to write an explicit question.

Goodbye.
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Author Closing Comment

by:Sonja_M
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blabla
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