Basic math is so complex to some people

This is a simple scenario to prove that basic math is so complex to some people. Sorry to my readers for not posting anything over the past month, but I had a little too much on my plate (including a kidney stone that I’m still carrying and having to do a lot of outdoor work at our house and my in-law’s house) and something had to give.

On the way to work this morning, I went to a local department store (Kmart in this case), to purchase some snacks and something to drink while I’m at work. The total came to $9.36, so I handed the cashier a $10 bill. Then I started reaching into my pocket to see if I had the change. The cashier ended up entering $10 into the register and ringing it out. With the drawer still open, I handed him the $0.36, and he grabbed $0.28 additional cents out of the drawer and gave me the change. I immediately recognized that it wasn’t the $1 bill I expected, and it wasn’t even $1 in change, it was merely the amount of money that the machine told him to pay me back.

Before leaving the register and walking off, I mentioned that he had given me the incorrect amount of change. He started saying that he put the $10 in first, and then gave me the change for the $10. I said that I appreciated what he thought he did, but that he should have given me $1 back, and taken the change I gave him in addition to the $10 bill otherwise his drawer would have been over when it was counted up at the end of his shift. He started to get a little upset and reiterate what he had already told me, when I had to cut him off, and explain that I gave him $10.36 and that I should be receiving $1 back, whether it was in change or as a $1 bill.

If it wasn’t for me saying something, for that single transaction I would have left with 3.8% fee due to the inability of the cashier to use basic math in his head, and realize that $10.36 – $9.36 = $1.00, or payment – cost = change

Have you ever had this happen to you before?

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2 Responses to Basic math is so complex to some people

  1. Sandy T says:

    Umm, all the time, sadly. I went to a local fast food chain and gave the cashier something similar to your $10.36. And she looked at the change sighed and finally entered in the correct amount into the register. When the change came back as you guessed it, an even dollar, she said, WOW, how did you do that? Basic math, basic math. It’s just not taught anymore.

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