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Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Basic Math Should Not Be This Hard

Yet another example of the downfall of our civilization.
This is something that has been bugging me for a little while now and I keep running into it.
At first I played it off as something I misheard, but since then I have witnessed it two more times at my own store and it amazes and shocks me every single time.
People are stupid and getting dumberer.

Case in point. At what point in time did it become acceptable for people to not know basic fucking math? I’m talking basic math here, not algebra or calculus and I’m not even talking something as hard as multiplication or division. I’m talking simple addition and subtraction.

Maybe it’s the educational system out here in Las Vegas failing miserably but I’m pretty sure the problem is bigger than that even.

So, here are my situations.
I’m standing in line waiting to buy some sort of beverage so that I can make it home alive. The cashier is checking out a different customer and hits the wrong key, the drawer pops open and she asks her head cashier to pull out a calculator and figure out the difference between X and Y so that she can give correct change back.
This sticks in the back of my mind but I brush it off as an isolated incident. She could have been having a bad day, she could have been near the end of her day and distracted. She could have had a headache and just couldn’t do simple math. These things are possible.

A few days later I’m buying another beverage and for some strange reason I decide to pay with cash. The cashier gives me my total and I hand her a $20. She forgets to enter the amount that I’m handing her and instead just hits the cash button and the drawer pops open.
At this point she freezes realizing she just messed up and is about to call her head cashier. I stare in dis-fucking-belief.
The total for my purchase was (and I’m making up this number 100% - it’s just an example folks) was $2.44. This is not even math 101, this is beyond basic. This is shit we learn so early in school we can’t even point to a grade to identify it.
This is shit you NEED TO FUCKING COMPREHEND as a cashier in order to do your job correctly. It says on the papers for the position you applied for “Ability to comprehend basic math including addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.” If you are going to handle money how do you not know how to derive this answer for yourself?
If you are going to hire someone to handle money in your business who do you not find out if they can do something so simple?
It’s as easy as a 1 page test during the application process to be filled out in front of a manager. Here are a series of 10 questions, you must get these answers right 100% or you are too fucking stupid to run a register for my company.
So while she was reaching for the phone in a state of panic because she was being asked to think for 5 seconds I told her that she owed me $17.66 in change. She looked at me dumbfounded, I repeated the amount to her and she stated “I have no idea how you came up with that but I’ll believe you” and gave me my change.
I asked her if she seriously couldn’t figure it out and she said yes.
I then explained to her an easy way to do it and she still looked at me like I was fucking on crack and that this was more difficult than it should be.
I walked away.

Later I complained to one of the Head Cashiers who told me that she, also, could not perform such a basic function if she made the same mistake.
I give up on the human race as a whole.
(I know there was a mistake up above - I just wanted to see who would catch it and who wouldn’t notice until they got to this point and then had to look back to figure it out. It was intentional.)

I can't stop listening to this song so I share it with you

16 comments:

  1. And then I finished reading. FML

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    1. No, that was the entire point of me putting a wrong figure up there.
      You immediately realized that I had the wrong amount there (whether I typed it wrong or was just stupid and made an easy mistake while talking about how no one else can do basic math).
      I enjoyed that a lot and thanks for posting THEN finishing.

      I seriously don't know how someone who runs a register every day cannot figure out what change to give there without asking someone else or grabbing a calculator.
      Didn't we learn this in like 1st grade? We have high school graduates fucking up basic math and looking at me like I'm a super genius because I spit out a number within seconds (and was willing to believe me without double checking the math?)
      Next time I'm getting back more than I deserve :)

      Delete
    2. I calculated the correct answer then just accepted what you typed. I think this is either because I am tired or because I believe everything I read on the Internet.

      Delete
  2. When I was in high school I worked at Burger King and our registers would figure the change for you, but our manager wouldn't allow us to use it. We were required to calculate the change in our head and count it back to the customer in a very specific way. We were also responsible for having our register balance at the end of the night...TO THE PENNY. I taught myself a couple of really stupid shortcuts to figure change and I get just as annoyed as you when cashiers can't do the simple math.

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  3. "I thought about how stupid the average person is. Then I realized that half the people in the world are even more stupid." - George Carlin

    I miss George :)

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    1. One of my favorite comedians of all time.
      So glad that I got to see him live a few times and I even caught his last show in Vegas about a week before his death.
      Funny and clever as ever down to the last day!

      Delete
  4. A friend of mine (younger) couldn't do math for shit. He said in school they let them use hand-held calculators and he blamed it on that.

    Mary Prankster, I googled her and see "The world is full of bastards" is another song of hers.

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  5. Totally glad you intentionally put in the wrong number. Was going to have a comment about irony and such if you hadn't put that in there. :)

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  6. I'm afraid it's an attitude humanity has adapted. "I don't have to do it, some(one, thing, else) will do it for me." Healthcare, education, computers, cash registers, laws. When it all goes to Hell (and it will in 2030, +/- a few years) a lot of people are going to go down real fast.

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  7. I worked for Radio Shack in the days of the wooden cash drawer and no cash registers. Sure, we HAD calculators, but we didn't use them for change. I was always one for the counting back of change method, so for the $2.44 example I'd say, "$2.44. 56 cents makes three," as I gave her change, "four, five," as I gave her two singles, and finally "five is ten and ten is twenty," as I handed over a five and a ten.

    However I got a perfect opportunity to feel like a stupid person when I was in Amsterdam at a coffeeshop and was high off my balls. Between Euro coins and a dope-soaked brain, I just couldn't work the arithmetic. I held a few Euros worth of coins in my hand and looked helplessly at the counter girl, who had certainly seen this before.

    I should also say that if you want to hear stories about me and bad math, just ask Josie. She has a million of them.

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  8. I worked for Radio Shack in the days of the wooden cash drawer and no cash registers. Sure, we HAD calculators, but we didn't use them for change. I was always one for the counting back of change method, so for the $2.44 example I'd say, "$2.44. 56 cents makes three," as I gave her change, "four, five," as I gave her two singles, and finally "five is ten and ten is twenty," as I handed over a five and a ten.

    However I got a perfect opportunity to feel like a stupid person when I was in Amsterdam at a coffeeshop and was high off my balls. Between Euro coins and a dope-soaked brain, I just couldn't work the arithmetic. I held a few Euros worth of coins in my hand and looked helplessly at the counter girl, who had certainly seen this before.

    I should also say that if you want to hear stories about me and bad math, just ask Josie. She has a million of them.

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  9. grrouchie, you are so right on with this. It would be easy to dismiss this to the inadequacy of the Clark County School District (if only they could get their standards up to Mississippi's...), but this isn't even a Las Vegas thing. (I beg of you, don't step foot in Utah. It's even worse there.)

    My theory is that technology is making people lazy--why add something in your head when there's a calculator on your phone? Why bother to learn to spell anything when there's spell check, or even worse, auto-correct? Why use your brain when you're carrying one in your back pocket? That's my take on it. Jeez, I sound like an old person.

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    Replies
    1. I agree 100%
      laziness, technology and schools and parents that don't care are making the easiest things impossible it seems.

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  10. even an old person like me knows 2.44 from 20.00 is 17.56

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  11. Yeah, I've had similar experiences. Blame it on calculators, I believe they now issue them to kids in 1st Grade and never both teaching them the arithmetic tables. The counting backward method that Gary mentions should be taught even to those who use the cash registers that tell them how much to give. It's sad.

    OTOH, when this kids get old enough to play poker, they have no chance of figuring out the correct pot odds.

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