November Theme Of The Month: Black Friday!

Category: Math & Science

Everyone needs basic math and science skills to survive. However, these customers were definitely sleeping their way through class!

Causing An Infraction

| Nashville, TN, USA | Food & Drink, Math & Science

(As at many restaurants in the South, we have extremely sweet iced tea. It is common for guests to order “1/2 & 1/2 tea.”)

Me: “What would you like to drink?”

Guest: “I want some 1/2 & 1/2 tea, but I want more sweet than unsweet.”

Me: “That’s not how fractions work…”

They Ended Up Having A Triffid Conversation

| USA | Bizarre, Math & Science

(I am an undergrad researcher to a microbial genetics lab. As such, we have a lot of plants along one wall for experiments. These are pure-bred alfalfa plants, some of them genetically modified, so we are a little protective of them. We don’t want any of their seeds escaping the lab, both because they’re expensive, and because we don’t want them cross-breeding with the wild-type alfalfa outside. We have a net below to catch their seed pods, but some seed pods escape. Because of this, we’ve asked the janitors to not sweep underneath the plants so that we can gather up any escaped seed pods and they don’t make it out into the wild. I’m in the lab late working on a project that needs the bacteria fed every hour. So, I’m staying the night, but am currently surfing the Internet and watching shows while waiting for the next feed. A janitor comes in to clean and goes white in the face when she sees me.)

Janitor: “I’m sorry. I didn’t know anyone was in here.”

Me: “Sorry. Go ahead. You’re fine.”

Janitor: “I’ll just come back later.”

Me: “The bacteria need to be fed every hour for this experiment, so I’m here all night. Just do what you need to do.”

Janitor: *looking at me like she’s seen a ghost* “Really… I’ll just…”

Me: “Do you need me to leave?”

Janitor: “No… I…”

(She starts cleaning the lab, and I notice that not only is she not sweeping under the plants, but she is leaving a good five feet between her and the plants whenever she goes near them. She seems really overly cautious about it and seems like she’s going to a lot of trouble to not go near them.)

Me: “It’s okay; you can go near the plants. We just don’t want to lose their seed pods, is all.”

Janitor: *suddenly less afraid* “They won’t eat me?”

Me: “What? The alfalfa?”

Janitor: “Yeah. That’s what my manager told me. You guys were making a plant army for the government and we had to leave the plants alone, or we’d get bitten or even eaten.”

Me: *pauses* “They are just alfalfa plants. We’re being paid by the Department of Agriculture to make alfalfa plants that need less nitrogen fertilizer.”

Janitor: “Oh!”

(She spent the rest of the time cleaning the lab having a great conversation with me. It turned out she was a really nice girl, a French major, and we both spoke French and it helped pass the time. I kind of understand now why she was afraid of our lab, but I don’t understand why she thought the government was building a plant army.)

Because… Math

| Toronto, ON, Canada | At The Checkout, Math & Science, Money

(The prices of the items are posted in huge numbers on the front of the display counter, impossible to miss. Our boneless chicken breasts are usually quite large, a fact which I always point out to people who are not regular customers.)

Customer: “Can I have some boneless breasts?”

Me: “Sure thing! They’re quite large, about a pound each. How many would you like?”

(The breasts are $5.99/lb, I’m trying to prevent sticker shock.)

Customer: “I’ll take six.”

Me: *bags and weighs six chicken breasts* “Okay, it comes to $36.”

Customer: “What?! Why is it so much?”

Me: “Because six times six is thirty-six.”

A Third Of The Way To A Breakdown

| MN, USA | At The Checkout, Extra Stupid, Math & Science

(The current sale on a certain brand of pizzas is three for $10, making the sale price for each $3.33. A customer comes through the line with two pizzas.)

Customer: “I know the sign says three for $10, but I only want to buy two of these pizzas.”

Me: “That’s fine; they ring up at the sale price no matter how many you buy.”

(I scan one pizza and show him that it rings up as $3.33.)

Customer: “NO! You don’t understand; I want the SALE PRICE.”

Me: “$3.33 is the sale price.”

Customer: “No, it’s not!”

(I’m beginning to have a line, so I pull out a calculator to show the math.)

Me: “It is, sir. Look. Ten divided by three is 3.33.”


Next Customer: “I do.”

(The first customer refused to believe me, saying that he’d pay for them just this once. He also said he’d be informing a manager about the wrong sale price. Needless to say, I did not get in trouble.)

H2-Slow, Part 10

| IL, USA | Extra Stupid, Math & Science

(I work at a car dealership which operates an automatic car wash that is free to people who have purchased a vehicle. One extremely cold winter day, a young woman in an SUV stops near me with a question.)

Woman: “Hey, why isn’t the car wash open?”

Me: “Sorry, miss, the wash closes when it’s this cold out because the wash doesn’t dry the cars. When the cars come out wet, the water freezes on the way home and folks often get their doors and windows frozen shut.”

Woman: “That doesn’t make any f****** sense! Don’t they use HOT water?!”

Me: “…Are you under the impression that hot water can’t freeze?”

Woman: “Whatever.”  *drives off*

H2Slow, Part 9
H2Slow, Part 8
H2Slow, Part 7

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