|Sum times the bear gets you|
Message #21 Posted by Frank Wales on 21 June 2006, 6:26 p.m.,
in response to message #20 by Garth Wilson
Today's young people can't do it without the computer.
I once spent a few minutes trying in vain to convince a burger jockey that two items, each priced below £1, couldn't cost more than £2 when purchased together. Unfortunately, she didn't bring to work whatever capacity for independent thought she had, and just repeatedly pushed the little pictures on the register for the items, and pointed at the wrong total.
Eventually, her manager came over, listened to me, agreed with me, looked at the register, and then pointed out to her that she had been repeatedly selecting the wrong products.
The thing was, her manager was the young one; she was older than me.
I also once blurted out "that can't be right" when I was charged £1.24 for three identical items, to the consternation of the assistant, who seemed to take it as some kind of accusation of attempted fraud.
"How do you know that?" he asked. "Because 124 isn't a multiple of three," I said, matter-of-factly. At this point, a glint of superiority flicked across his face, and he asked: "And how could you possibly know that?" It was as if he were a member of the Innumeracy Police, and he'd just arrested some idiot for trying to understand numbers.
I spent a moment wondering if I should explain the appropriate piece of arithmetic trivia concerning multiples of three, realised that I didn't have my clue gun with me, and decided that my best defence was simply to assert: "because I happen to know that kind of thing."
As it turned out, of course, £1.24 was the right price for these three items, because an unadvertised special offer had kicked in. At that point, nobody cares that the ability to add isn't inhumanly difficult, because the machine still gets to be right, and you're just holding up the queue.