The below aim isn't actually what my query is for, but I'm using it as an analogy to explain more simply what I am trying to achieve:

I am trying to build a BigQuery Script which looks at all arcade machines which have had a vandalism alarm triggered, it then identifies all of those machines which have either had no vends made since the alarm, or those where the first vend was more than 28 days after the alarm was triggerred, in order to identify machines where free use could have occurred after the alarm was triggerred.

SO far, I have highlighted all of these instances, however where I have joined the Payments table to the query, all vends made >28 days after the alarm per machine are being returned, where I am only interested in returning the first vend after the alarm.

I have 3 tables


machine_num alarm_date
111 2022-01-20
222 2022-01-20
123 2022-01-20
456 2022-01-20


cust_num machine_num
1 111
2 222
3 123
4 456


cust_num vend_date
1 2022-01-10
1 2022-01-21
1 2022-02-21
2 2022-01-11
2 2022-01-19
3 2022-01-01
3 2022-01-10
3 2022-03-01
3 2022-03-03
3 2022-03-04
4 2022-01-19
4 2022-04-20
4 2022-04-21

So in this case: cust_num "1" woudln't be returned, as there was a vend less than 28 days after the alarm cust_num "2" Would be returned with the vend date as NULL since no Vends have been made since the alarm cust_num "3" Would be returned with the vend date as "2022-03-01" since this is the first Vend after the alarm cust_num "4" Would be returned with the vend date as "2022-04-20" since this is the first Vend after the alarm

I need to return all 3 fields, so based on the above example, my output would be

cust_num machine_num alarm_date vend_date
2 222 2022-01-20 NULL
3 333 2022-01-20 2022-03-01
4 444 2022-01-20 2022-04-20

I've tried adding a sub-query in my select statement similar to the below:

FROM payments AS paymin
WHERE paymin.vend_date > alarm_date)
AS vend_date

However this just tends to cause bigquery to run longer than I have the patience to wait for it for when I add the subquery to my existing query.

I've never asked for help on one of these sites before, so apologies if I am asking in the wrong place or in the wrong way! I'm still relatively new to BQ and work very distantly from any analysts in the business.

Any help is really appreciated!


__ EDIT:

So I gave up with the sub query, it was too intensive as it was querying almost 2 million rows!

I tried using simple MIN and grouping everything together, similar to this simplified example

 alarm.machine_num, p.PAN, alarm.alarm_date, MIN(payments.vend_date) as vend_Date
 FROM alarm
LEFT JOIN customer
    ON alarm.machine_num = customer.machine_num
 INNER JOIN payments
    ON customer.cust_num =payments.cust_num 

vend_Date > DATE_ADD(alarm.alarm_date, INTERVAL +28 DAY) OR 
vend_Date IS NULL

GROUP BY payments.cust_num, alarm.machine_num, alarm.alarm_date
ORDER BY  payments.cust_num

however This isn't picking up instances where first vend_date after alarm_date is NULL It also only returns the first date that is newer than 28 days after the alarm date, not accounts WHEN the first vend_date is newer than 28 days after the alarm_date

2 Answers 2


The query below works on my system and makes the output you suppose I hope it works for you

    -- deletes function
        DROP FUNCTION pay
    create function pay()
    returns table
    as return 
            with cte as ----------------------------------------to merge alarm table and customer table
                (select max(alarm_date) from alarm as a 
                    where a.machin_num= c.machin_num ) as date
                from customer as c)
        select ------------------------------------------------ to marge payment table
            cte.customer_num, cte.machin_num,cte.date,
            case when datediff(day,cte.date,p.vend_date) > 0 then p.vend_date
            else Null end as vend_date,
            datediff(day,cte.date,p.vend_date) as diff
        from  cte  
        left join  peyments as p
            on cte.customer_num= p.cusromer_num
    ------------------------------------------using table valued function to make it easy to join result with itself
    select distinct p1.customer_num,p1.machin_num,p1.date, min(p1.vend_date)
    from pay() as p1
     where p1.customer_num not in (select p2.customer_num from pay() as p2 where p2.diff between 0 and 28)
     group by p1.customer_num,p1.machin_num,p1.date
     order by p1.customer_num
  • did you mean "merge"? Commented Sep 8, 2022 at 11:11
  • Also, since the question is tagged with google-bigquery and not sql-server, I suggest you remove any SQL Server syntax (e.g. go, OBJECT_ID). I'm not sure that BigQuery allows functions to return a table, so it might be good idea to provide just the query. Commented Sep 8, 2022 at 11:18
  • Thanks Kazem! I really appreciate your help! I am trying to recreate this script within BigQuery, Learning a lot as I go The two Issues I am now getting are: 1) My query is returning the error: ` Scalar subquery produced more than one element` even though BQ doesn't identify any syntax errors before running the script 2) I am also unsure how pay() comes into everything at the end as it is not a function in BQ I'll try and find out more about issue 1 tomorrow myself, but are you able to explain the purpose of pay() so that I know what it is supposed to do? Many thanks again Commented Sep 8, 2022 at 16:09
  • Hi Phil. abut first issue: you might have more than one alarm_date for some machin so to solve this a I add max() to the sub query to be sure not to return more than one element. second issue : pa() is a user define function I used to avoid repeating the query and make it easy to join the result table with itself Commented Sep 10, 2022 at 4:21

Thank you all so much for your help Although I didn't quite get the grips of user defined functions in the end, I did however manage to achieve my goal in the end in a similar way.

Here's my final query (heavily changed for readability) And with additional criteria too (i had to make a temporary payments table as the customer numbers were stored as string in that table, had an extra digit on the end, and any numbers shorter than 10 characters had 0's appended to the begining! the Date was also string and in some mad format!)

    WITH pay AS( 
  WITH payments AS (
          WHEN LENGTH(customer_num)>9
          ELSE CAST (CAST(customer_num AS INTEGER) AS STRING) 
        END AS customer_num,
          WHEN LENGTH(vend_Date)=10
           THEN PARSE_DATE('%Y-%m-%d',vend_Date) 
          ELSE NULL
          END AS vend_Date
      FROM `Vend_Records`),
    smart AS (
        Primary_Machine_Num AS Machine_Num,
          FROM `alarm` AS r  
            WHERE r.Machine_Num=Primary_Machine_Num) AS alarm_date
      FROM `customer`)
    cte.msn AS Meter_Serial_No, 
           DATE_DIFF(p.vend_date, cte.alarm_date, DAY) >0 THEN p.vend_date  
          ELSE NULL
          END AS vend_date,
    WHEN DATE_DIFF(vend_date, alarm_date,DAY) >28
    THEN "vend outside of 28 days"
    WHEN DATE_DIFF(vend_date, alarm_date,DAY)<0
    THEN "No vend after alert"
    WHEN DATE_DIFF(p.vend_date, cte.alarm_date, DAY) BETWEEN 0 AND 28 
    THEN "vend made after alert"
    ELSE "No vend on report"
    END AS Status,
  FROM smart
  LEFT JOIN payments AS p
  on cte.customer_num=p.customer_num
  WHERE (alarm_date IS NOT NULL)
  AND DATE_DIFF(Account_Start_Date, alarm_date,DAY)<0 OR Account_Start_date IS NULL
  AND closure_type NOT IN ("COS")


  MIN(vend_Date) AS vend_date,
FROM pay AS p1
  WHERE alarm_date > CAST("2021-01-01" AS DATE)
  AND p1.customer_num NOT IN 
                        (SELECT p2.customer_num FROM pay AS p2
                        WHERE p2.status = "vend made after alert")
  GROUP BY customer_num, Machine_Num, alarm_date, status, Meter_Serial_No,PAN, closure_type;

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