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Have we forgotten basic math?

December 29th, 2006 at 05:44 am

Heard a funny but sad, sad tidbit on NPR this morning. Apparantly, some stores in Great Britain are giving away free "shopping calculators" to shoppers to help expedite their ability to calculate the price of marked down goods. Or could it be that people have forgotten how to do what amounts to simple math???

Anyone- seriously!- can learn to figure out just how much that percent discount will save you. Here's what I do; take the price of the item and scoot that little decimal point one space over to the left. Voila, you've just calculated what 10% of the cost is. Now use that as your basis for the rest of the discounts. If an item is marked down 20%, then double your number. If it is marked down 70%, multiply by 7. Hey, stores make it easy for you by using nice, round numbers.

Oh no, what if it is a 5% discount? No fear, just half your 10% value.

If you really want to be a discounting pro, then figure out what 1% of the price is (hint hint, just scoot the decimal point two places to the left) and you have a base by which to calculate ANY percent-off.

10 Responses to “Have we forgotten basic math?”

  1. yummy64 Says:

    I do exactly what you do! I think there is something to be said by being able to do math by route in your head. But today I think they would be afraid it would stifle creativity or somethin'

  2. Nancy Says:

    It is amazing how many people, especially younger people can't do that.
    There is a nineteen year old in the family, who didn't have a clue how to do that, and she is an honor student. Scary!

  3. tinapbeana Says:

    problem is that most math classes are taught with a calculator and have been for a while. ever since watches started having calculators on them (80s i guess), more and more people have stopped being able to do percents and fractions in their heads. DH can't to save his life, he'll whip out the cell phone and i'll be done before he starts typing...

    i use the decimal trick too... 30% off 35? 3.5 * 7 = 24.50 actual price before 5% tax (which would be 1.23). i 'chunk' the 3.5 * 7, a trick i learned from my 5th grade teacher. 3*7 = 21, 0.5*7= 3.50, total 24.50.

  4. PRICEPLUS Says:

    It is a sad commentary on our society in general when people cannot do simple ciphering!Frown

  5. LuckyRobin Says:

    I am the only person I know who can figure tips in my head and be right. How sad is that?

  6. disneysteve Says:

    My daughter is 11 and in 5th grade. I can tell you they spend very little time teaching basic math skills today. They introduce computers and calculators very early on in grade school. We've refused to allow her to use a calculator to do math homework at home, even when the assignment specifically instructs her to do so. Until I feel confident that she knows how to do the calculations on paper, there is no reason she needs a calculator.

  7. baselle Says:

    Yeah. And its also really scary because if you can't do some basic math in your head, you can't estimate, and you can't figure out quickly enough whether a transaction is going to work out badly for you. Its how a lot of people overspend in the first place.

  8. T_I_N_A20 Says:

    True for me... I don't know how to calculate tax in my head. .________."

  9. asua Says:

    I am too reliant on my calculator since I have to use it all the time at school. I just use very rough math when shopping. 30% is a bit more than 25%, so if an item is $39.98, I just treat it as 40, divide by 4, and subtract that from 40 which becomes around $30. If it's $34.99 just treat it as 36. Doesn't have to be exact so the ball park estimate is good enough for me.

    I'll feel the pain on my next credit card statement.

  10. Jonathan Says:

    The problem is, people never learned it in the first place.

    This is what happens when you get 60% right on a test (that was probably multiple choice to save the overworked teacher's time) and get promoted to the next grade...

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