Archive for November, 2012

i can has math skillz?

Every once in a while it’s nice to have an experience that confirms your assessment that the world is going to hell in the proverbial handbasket. Well, maybe it’s not that extreme, but I have a tale that confirms the lack of math education in at least some (in truth, I believe most) young people.

Now, I’m not talking about solving differential equations here. I’m talking simple arithmetic – addition and subtraction. I don’t know how they teach math today, but the math teachers of the young lady at the cash register at Target obviously failed in their efforts.

It was a simple transaction, like many that have come before it and most likely many that came after. I brought my few items to the cashier and she rang them up. The total was small, only $12.34. I handed her a twenty-dollar bill and as she turned to the cash register one of the items I had purchased began to fall off the counter. Distracted by that, she somehow managed to enter my payment as $15.00 instead of $20.00. I had no idea at that point that getting my correct change back would require three people and a calculator.

The cashier looked at the twenty-dollar bill she was holding, looked at the cash register, and said, “Oh, I entered the wrong amount.” The change due showing on the cash register was $2.66. Panic! Speaking to everyone in general, she asked, “Does anyone have a calculator?”

As I started to roll my eyes (I’m good at that, and it’s not appreciated as much as you think it would be) and tell her what my change should be, the person behind me in line chimed up, “Yeah, I have one right here.” What the heck . . . it’s more fun to watch this than to just tell her what to do.

After figuring out how to start the calculator on her smart phone (an oxymoron if ever there was one), the helpful customer asked the clerk how much cash I gave her.


“Ok, so how much did he owe you?’

“Um, let me look. Um, $12.34”

The person in line behind the person with the calculator, looking over her shoulder, said, “No, you have to put that number in first.”

The correction was made, “Oh, ok, you owe him $2.66.”

“Wait,” said the clerk, “that can’t be right. That’s what the cash register says. Oh, he gave me $20, not $15.”

“Oh, ok, um, let me see, that means you owe him $7.66.”

“Oh, good, thank you.”

The cashier gave me my $7.66 and apologized for the delay. No biggie – nowhere to go and nothing to do, and cheap entertainment besides. Still, what the hell are they teaching today?

We need to break out a calculator to figure out that my change should be $5 more than what the cash register showed? Sigh. You see (in case you can’t figure it out, in which case you can go be a cashier, too), the difference between $20.00 and $15.00 is $5.00, meaning the change shown on the cash register was $5.00 too little. Surely (I’m being optimistic here), even this cashier could have easily added $5.00 and $2.66 in her head, and if not, could have at least handed me the $2.66 shown on the register and then another $5.00. Let’s not even go to the idea of actually counting change out to the customer, which could have made all the calculating moot.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying every cashier at Target can’t do simple math. Heck, maybe my cashier could have done it too but folded under the pressure of me watching her. And maybe the person with the calculator was just being helpful by supplying the calculator instead of the answer. It’s just that I have my doubts. Next time, I use my debit card. No mad math skillz required.

scammers forever

I cannot believe that I just got the old Nigerian scam email again. It is beyond belief that there is anyone using email that would fall for this. This scam has been going on since almost the invention of email and has essentially become part of Internet folklore. Does the sender really think that anyone is going to respond to him? I don’t know – maybe there are more idiots in this world than I can believe.

Anyways, it was a good chuckle to start off my day and I just thought I would share. And if you don’t know what the heck I am talking about, do us all a favor and get off the Internet.

Yep, I told you so – election 2012 results