I despair!

  Simsy 10:54 09 Apr 2007

I know some folk readily claim to not have a head for figures, or be good at maths, but...

I was in my butchers/grocery shop over the weekend...

The customer in front of me handed the shop assistant, a polite young fellow of about 16, a brown bag into which he had placed his goods, bread rolls which were priced at 20p each...

"There're 8 in there" the customer said, also attempting to hand over the correct money at the same time.

The assistant wouldn't take the money, first wanting to work out how much it was. You could see him try to think, then frown, and then usea calculator to work out that 8 x 20p is £1.60

Surely something is wrong when someone at the end of there schooling can't do this in their head? It's not like working out the VAT at 17.5% on something costing £14.26, which I conceed may well be beyond many to do quickly in their head.

Or am I being unreasonable?



  GANDALF <|:-)> 10:57 09 Apr 2007

Unfortunately the 'times' tables do not seem to be taught these days. When I was in primary, from the age of 6 to 11, we had to learn the meanings and spellings of 20 words each day and our times table up to 20x20. Consequently I have no problem with mental arithmetic and most spelling.


  Simsy 11:01 09 Apr 2007

Obviously that should be, "THEIR schooling"

Sorry... Hangs head in shame!



  Weskit 11:05 09 Apr 2007

How about telling us what 17.5% of £14.26 is? Quickly, now...

  johndrew 11:12 09 Apr 2007

No you`re not being unreasonable at all; everyone should be capable of a simple calculation such as that. I believe the reliance on calculators in schools has damaged the ability of many to an extent where if there were no batteries mathematics would pretty well cease in any form. This could be read to the high street where even the simplest calculation is only carried out by a till. Gone are the days of manually working out square, cube and other roots `long hand` or using the humble Log Tables for trigonometry. [sigh]

  Mr Mistoffelees 11:14 09 Apr 2007


  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 11:14 09 Apr 2007

Unfortunately the 'times' tables do not seem to be taught these days.

No longer true, Schools stopped teaching Times tables for awhile and in the last couple of years they have now gone back to teaching them.

Perhaps the Minister for Education was stood in a similar line waiting for an inept young shop assistant.

  WhiteTruckMan 11:15 09 Apr 2007

You forgot slide rules. Tricky buggers to get the decimal point in the right place...


  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 11:16 09 Apr 2007

I think I've forgotten how to us a slide rule.


  GANDALF <|:-)> 11:19 09 Apr 2007

Working out VAT is easy-peasy...just take 10% of the figure, take half of that answer and half of the second answer, add and that is the VAT. So on £40 it would be £4+£2+£1=£7. As long as you can add small numbers and perform simple division in your head you can quickly work out VAT on any item. £14.26 = £1.43 + 71p + 36p = £2.49 Simple rules on deciding to add a halfpenny or take a halfpenny from unequal divisors can be applied but you are only going to be 1p out either way if you round down.

If you have a pen and paper it should take no more than 20 seconds.


  laurie53 11:21 09 Apr 2007

Eight of something is bad enough, but when someone uses a calculator to work out the cost of 10 rolls at 10p each I really despair!

And (yes, I know it's a conjuction, just in case the grammar police are still out there!) if you get a bill for £9.20, whatever you do don't hand over a tenner plus 20p. That is likely to engender at least a twenty minute delay!


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