Today, my kids convinced me to get bagels at our favorite bagel place, the Bagel Basement. We always make a list, going for 39 bagels (3 bakers dozen) in assorted flavors. Usually we go in, hand over the list, get the bagels and some cream cheese, and are out in about 5 minutes.
Not so today. Today there was a new girl, very nice, but not very efficient. When Kate handed her the piece of paper with our bagel order, she looked at it in confusion. After half a minute she asked me 'Do you want all those?' I affirmed that yes, indeed I wanted all the bagels on my bagel order.
She spent time getting them all ready. I didn't check what she gave us, figuring she would be able to follow a list like this.
Time to ring up the purchases. The pricing schedule is simple, $0.65 per bagel, or $6.95 for a bakers dozen). She started ringing up the individual bagels.
Me 'I think this works out better if you ring it up per dozen'
Nice girl 'Is this a dozen of them?'
Me 'It is 39, three bakers dozen'
She started counting, '10, 25, 29, this is 29'
Me 'Look, those 3 kinds are 27 together already, no way the total can be 29'
She counted again 'This doesn't look like three dozen'
'It is three bakers dozen'
Helpful other customer 'This is not three dozen, three dozen is 36'
'Let me get a calculator'
Me trying to explain about bakers dozen, she looking at me like I had two heads.
This went on for at least 10 minutes, she getting more and more confused, finally resolved to just ring up the bakers dozen, if only to shut me up. She still wasn't convinced I think. We attracted quite some onlookers who were happy to offer their own view of mathematics. Tara, Kate, and Sylvia were with me and quietly watched the action.
A more experience associate came in and affirmed 'Oh yes, you get a free bagel for every dozen, that's why a bakers dozen is 13.' She perked up 'Oh!!! So what would you like for your free bagels?' We explained that they were included in those already, which seemed to befuddle her even more.
I paid and hightailed it out of there. I couldn't resist and checked the mathematics on my kids, who both were perfectly able to do it. So it didn't seem like an unreasonable skill to expect from someone working at the Bagel Basement.
At home, the hungry hordes descended on us. Cees asked 'Where are the cinnamon raisin bagels?' After checking and double checking, turned out we missed those and a bunch of other bagels, 10 alltogether. Sigh.
Back to the bagel basement, where I showed them the list of what we had asked for, what we got and what we were missing (didn't want to put the burden of the complicated mathematics on them). The girl stared at it and asked her colleague 'What should we do? Should we just give them to her?' Luckily a more seasoned associate came from the back 'Oh yes, she knows what she is doing, just give her the ones on the list'
Finally, we got our bagels. Took me about two hours instead of the normal quick trip. Amazing how hard it can be to do simple mathematics.