Cheaper Than The Sum Of The Sum

, , , , | Working | June 12, 2014

(The local pizza chain in a small college town has a 10% discount for college students and employees. It was one of the places we’d often go to for lunch. Normally we’d each pay for our own meal, but on this day my coworker asks if I could cover for him since he forgot his wallet.)

Me: “I had the pizza buffet and a drink, and I’m also paying for [Coworker]’s buffet and drink. We work at the college and should get the 10% discount.”

Cashier: “Okay, so the it’s two buffets and two drinks, and each of you gets a 10% discount, so that’s 20% total discount. Your total is [amount].”

Coworker: “Um…”

Me: “Wait, that’s not how it works. The discount is only 10%.”

Cashier: “Yes. You each get 10% off, so that’s 20% total. You owe [amount].”

(Not knowing how to argue with that logic, I paid, and on the way out the door joked with my coworker.)

Me: “We need to bring the entire department out and maybe some others. If we got 10 people, everyone’s meal would be free! Would they even pay us if we brought 11 or more?”

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Counting And Discounting

, , , , , , , | Right | June 3, 2014

(I’m a cashier at a place that sells small items of furniture, storage containers, and so on. We are having a 10% off sale. My last customer caused a huge amount of trouble due to getting angry and shouting over not understanding the difference between 10% and $10, so I’m feeling frazzled. A mother and her child, probably seven or eight, come up to my register and start unloading their items while they talk.)

Mother: *to the kid* “Now, this container was $19.95, but we bought two, so how much is that?”

Kid: “$39.90!”

Mother: “Well done! But remember, there’s 10% off today. What’s 10% of $39.90?”

Kid: “$3.99, so the real price would be… umm, $35.91?”

Mother: “That’s right! Nicely done! But now here comes the hard one, so look out! I have my membership card!”

(The child’s eyes widen. Membership cards give a further 25% discount.)

Kid: “Okay, okay, umm…”

Mother: “You can do it!”

(By this time, I’ve scanned the items and bagged them. Just as I’m about to say the total, the child beats me to it.)

Kid: “$26.93!”

Mother: “Fantastic job! I think we get to stop at the playground on the way home!”

Kid: “Yes!” *jumps up and down gleefully*

(After my last customer, a fully grown man who couldn’t understand what a percentage was, I’m literally dumbfounded. In the end, I call my manager and we give the mother a further employee discount, which her child also worked out.)

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And A Bottle Of Pun…

, , , , , | Friendly | May 23, 2014

(I am in AP Calculus. At the beginning of the year my teacher divided us into groups with which we are allowed to work on homework and some test problems. My group is my two friends and I. We are really not bad at Calculus, but we are a little crazy sometimes and easily get off topic.)

Me: “Guys, we need a group name!”

Friend #1: “Okay… like what?”

Friend #2: “Well, it needs to be a math pun, obviously.”

(We Google ‘math puns’ but don’t find any that work for a group name, so we begrudgingly settle in to do homework. Then, a few minutes later…)

Friend #2: “Oh, my gosh! We’re the pirates! Get it? Pi-rates? Like, pi?!”

Me & Friend #1: “That’s awesome!”

Me: “Now we just need a theme song!”

Friend #1: “Seriously?”

Me: “Yes. And I’ve already got it! ‘We are the pi-rates who don’t derive anything. We just sit in our corner and cry. And if you ask us to derive anything, we’ll just tell you… we don’t know how.'”

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Taxing Taxing, Part 2

, , , , | Working | March 28, 2014

(I’m a graduate student from New Mexico attending San Diego State University in California. It’s my second year in state when I get a call from the California equivalent of the IRS.)

Tax Board: “We are calling because you didn’t pay your taxes for the previous year.”

Me: “For which year?”

Tax Board: “[Year I first arrived in California].”

Me: “Yes. I was not a California resident that year.”

Tax Board: “Yes, but you were living in California.”

Me: “True, but I was maintaining my New Mexico residency. I paid New Mexico state income taxes for that year. I’m a graduate student and since I could not guarantee that I would be staying past the first year, I was maintaining my New Mexico residency in case I didn’t pass through the first year.”

Tax Board: “But you were still living in California.”

Me: “But I was not a California resident. What money is this about?”

Tax Board: “We have a record of interest on [bank account] of $800.”

Me: “That account is drawn on a bank in New Mexico.”

Tax Board: “But you were living in California.”

Me: “But I was maintaining my New Mexico residency. I specifically did not move my accounts over nor did I register my car nor get a driver’s license in California until this year. My voter registration was for New Mexico. I was not a California resident.”

Tax Board: “But you were living in California when you earned the money.”

Me: “But I was maintaining my New Mexico residency. I was not a resident of California.”

Tax Board: “But if you are living in California when you earn money, you must pay California taxes on it.”

Me: “That makes no sense. That means anybody who is physically in California whenever any interest is earned means they owe California income tax and that clearly isn’t true.”

Tax Board: “But as soon as you started living in California, you owed California income tax on any money you earned. You weren’t just visiting. You were living here.”

Me: “Wait a minute. It seems every government agency here in California has a different idea of ‘residency.’ The DMV seems to think I needed to register my car as soon as I drove over the border from Arizona. The university says I’m not a resident until I’ve lived here a year. And now you’re telling me that I’m a resident as soon as I earned any money.”

Tax Board: “Yes, you owe California income tax on money you earned while living in California.”

Me: “You say I owe taxes on $800 of interest income? That’s what, eight dollars of taxes I owe?”

Tax Board: “That’s right.”

Me: “I’ll be happy to write you a check for $8 in exchange for a refund of the $10,000 in out-of-state tuition I had to pay.”

Tax Board: “Excuse me?”

Me: “If I’m liable for taxes, then I demand the services that those taxes paid for. San Diego State is a state-run institution. It is funded by my tax revenues. I was charged out-of-state tuition. But you, the tax franchise board, are saying that I am a resident of California. Refund me my out-of-state tuition. You can take the eight bucks out of that.”

Tax Board: “… I think we might be able to overlook this.”


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Disbelieving His Beliefs

, | Learning | October 8, 2013

(I’m in the sixth grade. I sit down with my friend in my first science class of the year. My teacher enters shortly after. After a brief introduction, he starts a little speech.)

Teacher: “Kids these days; you’ve all been taught the wrong things by your elementary school teachers.”

(The teacher takes out some matches, water, and a $20 bill.)

Teacher: “Why does water put out fire?”

Student: *raises hand* “Water puts out fire because the fire needs ox—”

Teacher: “WRONG!” *lights $20 bill on fire, then pours water on it* “Water doesn’t put out fires because it stops fueling oxygen to the flames. It works because the great god Ahura Mazda says it works!” *takes a paper plane and throws it to the back of the room* “Aerodynamics don’t work because of the laws you’ve all been taught. It works because the great god Ahura Mazda SAYS it works!”

(At this point, everyone’s convinced he’s either completely nuts, or they’ve caught on like I have.)

Me: *whispering to friend* “This guy’s nuts… I like it.”

Teacher: *regains composure* “See what I just told you? Forget it. I was lying. That’ll teach you not to believe everything an adult will tell you.”

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