Thursday, November 01, 2007

New math

Last night I was out buying something that was priced $9.99. I asked the cashier for $40 cash back. Now, logically, doesn't your mind think "hmmm... that's $10 plus $40 so $50 should be the total, plus a bit for tax."

Instead she handed me the keypad to punch in my PIN, and the total read $31. She had subtracted the purchase price from my cash back. When I first saw the price I said to her, "$31? But, I asked for $40 cash back"

Her look was completely blank. Or not so much blank as, "But that's what I gave you" In fact she did try to explain that that was what I was getting.

Sweet Mary, mother of god, we are all getting too reliant on machines. It took over five minutes for the supervisor to come and void the transaction and for the girl to run it all through again. She wasn't a stupid girl. She seemed quite bright, but quite frankly, this is the sort of mistake that NO person in high school should be making, no matter what their intelligence level. She just wasn't used to using her mind so that when she had entered the numbers incorrectly into the cash, she couldn't see that it literally didn't add up.

I was reading somewhere that we need to start using our minds more for simple memory in order to stay sharp. The article recommended memorizing phone numbers. It's true that I have no clue [apart from my parents' number] what anyone's phone number is. They are all programmed into my cell phone. Machines are great, but in some ways they are dumbing us down as a society.


Freak Magnet said...

I do accounting work, but God help me if I can't add crap in my head. The adding machine is my best friend.

Dantallion said...

I don't remember phone #'s anymore either. Well, except the 976 ones, of course.

Stewie said...

Good for you for calling attention to it.

I'm no goodytwoshoes by any stretch, but one thing I dislike is people taking advantage of cashiers.

(although I don't mind if the cashiers are jerky jerk faces, but that didn't seem the case, here).

Snooze said...

FM: I think machines are great for details, but I hope you have a general idea in your mind of how the numbers should be

dantallion: lol.

Stewie: It didn't get to the point of her handing over cash to me. Now that you mention it, I wonder if she would have been clued out enough to give me the $40? [and if she had, as you note, I wouldn't have kept it]

tornwordo said...

I don't put phone numbers into my cell for just that reason. It's a game for me to remember phone numbers, lol.

Laverne said...

I am so with you on the thinking thing. I don't remember too many phone numbers these days and yep, it's because of the ease of the cell phone.

Although, I remember a time when folks worried that digital watches would be the downfall of kid's ability to tell time on a proper clock. It didn't happen.

I do this thing when I wake up to start up my brain. I go through the alphabet with girl's names,then backwards again with boy's names.

Weird, I know.