What Is Real Life Example of Stack Data Structure?


Heather Bennett

What Is a Real Life Example of Stack Data Structure?

A stack is a linear data structure that follows the Last-In-First-Out (LIFO) principle. It is similar to a physical stack of objects, where the last object placed on top is the first one to be removed. In computer science, stacks are widely used for various purposes, and they can also be found in real-life scenarios.

Supermarket Shopping Basket

Have you ever been to a supermarket and noticed those stackable shopping baskets? These baskets perfectly illustrate the concept of a stack data structure.

When customers enter the supermarket, they pick up an empty basket from the top of the stack. As they continue shopping, they add items to their basket one by one, placing each new item on top of the previous one.

This behavior mimics how a stack works. The last item placed in the basket is always the first one to be removed when it’s time to check out. The cashier takes items out of each customer’s basket from the top until all items have been processed.

Browser History

Another real-life example that demonstrates how stacks work is your web browser’s history feature. Every time you visit a website, it gets added to your browsing history stack. When you click on the “Back” button, it retrieves and displays the previously visited webpage by removing it from the top of the stack.

The browsing history operates as a LIFO structure because you revisit webpages in reverse chronological order—like removing pages from a pile stacked on top of each other.

Pancake Stack

A pancake stack is not only delicious but can also serve as an analogy for understanding stacks in computer science. Imagine making pancakes for breakfast and stacking them on a plate.

When it’s time to serve the pancakes, you’ll take them from the top of the stack, one by one. The last pancake you made will be the first one served, and the first pancake you made will be at the bottom of the stack.


These examples demonstrate how stacks are used in both digital and physical contexts. Understanding real-life applications of data structures can help solidify your understanding of them and make learning computer science concepts more relatable.

By visualizing stacks in everyday objects like shopping baskets, web browser history, or even pancakes, you can better grasp their purpose and functionality. So next time you’re at a supermarket or enjoying a stack of pancakes, remember how they relate to computer science!

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