Thursday, August 9, 2012

This Thursday, I'm Thinking About...Simple Math

I went to my friendly neighborhood grocery store and had an experience. The customer service is always good and the store is awesome and clean and all that good stuff. I’ve never had any complaints.

But then, there was this day.

I saw a display with a specialty cake pan that can be used to make open mouthed animal shaped cupcakes. Seeing the pan brought out all these domestic feelings inside me and I was inspired to purchase it to make the cupcakes for my oldest sproutling’s upcoming birthday. That the display sign announced 25% off sealed the deal.

I took the pan through the checkout and noticed it hadn’t rung up with the discounted price. Since I waited until after the checker was done (adding too slowly), I had to visit guest services to get a refund of the difference. No problem.

I got to desk services and a young lady helped me. She looked up at me, puzzled and asked, “What is 25% of $24.99?”

I returned her look and said, “Umm, I’m no math wizard, but I think it’s about $6.24 or so.” I’m really not good at numbers and I used the old school figuring, thinking that a quarter of twenty four is six and a quarter of .99 is about .24, rounded down a penny. Works for me.

She proceeded to ask one of her comrades, who shrugged his shoulders. She looked at the desk calculator behind the counter, still puzzled. During this time, I pulled out my cell phone and did the calculation on the screen.

“See? It’s $6.24.”

She was still confused. Another of her comrades came to her aid, a lady closer to my age. “What’s 25% of $24.99?”

The lady took the pan, and went into a back room. She came back out and announced, “It’s $5.00.”

I looked at both of them. “$5.00 is only 20%.”

“It’s $5.00.” She batted her long, false eyelashes at me.

“It’s not $5.00. It’s $6.24. Do I need to speak to a manager?”

Needless to say, I got my $6.24.

The point of this little story is not how I got the pan or my refund but the fact that I was totally amazed that a young person could not perform a simple math calculation to figure out the discount amount. She had a calculator right in front of her, but she couldn’t even use it. The lady who did go find a calculator obviously couldn’t use that one, either. What is really going on when the folks handling our money don’t know how to do simple math?

After I got my money and my pan, I went directly home and told my sproutlings that our activity for the day was our math flash cards. They were excited.

And I told them that if they were going to argue with folks then they needed to first make sure they were right.


  1. I am appalled with two "P"s
    I am very glad that you got your correct $ :)

  2. Me, too, Tara! Thanks for stopping by.