Monday, August 16, 2010


The other day I went with a friend to the store. I'll leave the name out, but they have a dollar section when you walk in. My friend is a kindergarten teacher and is constantly looking for little things to go in her treasure box at school. Well, the store was having a 75% off sale on some of the $1 items. Whole packs of Sponge Bob frisbees and Dora pencils for a quarter! Awesome. So, she stocked up.

We get to the checkout and when the cashier rings the first thing up it comes up as $.50. So, my friend points out that the sign said 75% off, not 50% off. I know some of you would think "Seriously, it is just a quarter." BUT, as I said, she is a teacher and she STOCKED up on treasure box items. The cashier looks blankly at my friend for a moment and then turns to the guy behind her and ask "What is 75% off a dollar?" He looks at her for a second like he really can't believe she's asking that and then glances at us like it might be a trick question before answering her.

So, now she starts trying to figure out what percentage to take off of $.50 to make it equal $.25. She tries 10%. So, now we are at $.45. Way to go! Another lady comes over to help our cashier and I say to them "It is half of 50 cents." They look at me and then the cash register and decide to void the transaction and try again. Now, when it rings up as $.50 they try taking off 25%. This comes out to $.37. I repeat "It is half." They ignore me and one says "Well, why didn't that work?" I repeat "Because it should be half not 25% off." They look at me and back at the screen. Finally the lady behind us says "You need to take 50% off of $.50 to equal $.25." They listened to her. So, my conclusion is that they weren't really ignoring me, so much as they didn't know what percentage half was.

They finally got it to work out and my friend saved quite a bit of money and was quite patient about the whole thing. Although, I think that was more because she was trying desperately not to laugh more than because she was actually being patient. As we were walking out to the car my friend made a comment about how she can understand people's frustration over education. However, I honestly do not think that at any point you could blame that woman's teachers. You cannot make it through 13 years of math and not ever pick up the smallest hint of simple percentages. It wasn't like it was 35% off $13.47. It was 75% off $1. Since teachers usually use $1 to or 100 to teach percentages, you should at least be able to break that up into quarters. You have to work hard to completely miss that or to forget it after you leave school.

I'm just saying, don't blame the teacher if you don't know what kind of work the student was putting in. 'Cause education is a two-way street.