Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Back to School Blues

I too have observed the shocking inability of young people to make change. I was buying something that was $10.46 and I offered $20 as payment. Then I remembered that I had two quarters ($0.25 each for my foreign readers) and gave them to the cashier as well. Innumeracy ensued. At first the cashier tried to refuse the coins say that the cash register had already calculated my change. I patiently explained how simple it was to adjust that calculation by fifty cents. Obviously embarrassed at having to rely on a machine to do basic math, his resistance crumbled. I was feeling pleased with myself. I had reminded this guy of the importance of thinking for himself.

Then he handed me $11.04. The look on his face was hopeful, but he could see in an instant that he had made some grave error. Even worse, he had no idea what the error was. I briefly contemplated keeping the extra dollar, but I realized there was no point in taking it out on this guy.

John Wayne once said: Life is hard. It’s even harder when you’re stupid.

1 comment:

Lady Hampton said...

Could this also relate to the previous post about wealth and it's relativity? So Americans aren't 'impoverished' by definition - what's the term for living beyong your means? How can people live within their means if they don't have the mathematical ability to calculate what that is? Not an excuse, but more a symptom of the problem...