stolf’s blog 8/13/2012

Time for FUN WITH MATH…if you consider saving money to be fun, which I reckon most people would. A recent study shows that people are pretty bad using math to choose between grocery store “bargains.” Apparently they can do the ultra-simple stuff…like when one package has twice as much as another, but the bigger package costs less than double the smaller package. That they can handle.

Anything beyond that, they tend to get wrong…which is to say, they are easily fooled. The typical example was to choose which is better: 33% more of something for the original price…or getting the original amount at 33% off the original price. Folks either thought that 33% more was a better deal than 33% off…or they thought there was no difference, and buying the bigger size was marginally more convenient. And of course they were wrong…for something that cost $1 a pound, 33% more drops the price to 75¢ a pound, whereas 33% off means 67¢ a pound.

Tell the truth…what did you think when I posed the choice? Me, I wasn’t exactly sure…so I did what I always do, took it to its logical extreme…which is better, the original amount at 100% off…or the original price for 100% more? At $1 a pound, that results in 0¢ versus 50¢ per pound respectively…duh. My educated guess was it would work that way for any %.

The chart at the right confirms that…1st column is the %…2nd column cost per pound at x% off…3rd column cost per pound at x% more. As you can see, even at 40%, the difference is only 11¢ per pound, around 10% of $1 per pound original cost. The difference rises rather dramatically after that. But as I said, I didn’t really have an instinctive grasp of this idea. At 10%, for example, % less is only a penny better than % more. Could that switch around at say 5%? My guess was it wouldn’t.

> > > > >  OK, I just did the math…rather, a spreadsheet did it…and I was right. % more is never a better deal…with rounding, they are the equal until 8%, when % off becomes a penny better…and from there, it’s always better. Anyway, that’s something pretty basic that our schools aren’t getting across…math teachers take note.

B*A*K*E*R*S   D*O*Z*E*N

(1)  Oolympics oops…taekwondo’s international governing body is the
World Taekwondo Federation or WTF…they say they had the initials
first, and they don’t care about internet slang…good for them, sez me…

(2) Would a move qualify as bold if it wasn’t risky?…just askin’…

(3) I don’t like PC but at least I’ve got the hang of it…a recent TV commercial
showed a mother and daughter laughing when looking in a mirror, pretending
hunks of their long hair were mustaches…I saw this immediately as anti-gay…
the idea that one sex pretending to be the other sex was funny…get it?…

(4)  …or consider: Mitt Romney recently opined that Israeli culture
was better than Palestinian culture…some commentators called
this “anti-Semitic”…huh?…pretty twisty logic, but there ya go…

(5)  Eroica has nothing to do with erotica…it’s Italian for “heroic”…
but it does kind of remind me of this bestseller from 1976…

(6)  Want some good old blues?…listen to this…Taj Mahal

(7)  This year’s earliest sighting of Hallowe’en candy in the stores…August 10.

(8)  It’s nice to be wanted, at least on paper…below are outfielder
Scott Podsednik’s “transactions” for the past 2 years…of the 4
teams mentioned, he’s only actually played with the Red Sox…

(9)  There are over 40 theaters in Manhattan’s theater district…
only 3 are actually on Broadway…the section called the “Great
White Way,” originally because of all the illuminated advertising…

(10)  2 years before starring on The Man from U.N.C.L.E.,
Leo G. Carroll played Barry Fitzgerald on the short-lived
sitcom Going My Way…Gene Kelly was Bing Crosby…

(11)  …not for nothing, but the G stands for Gratten…

(12)  FYI…only about half the 43,000 known species of spiders spin webs…

(13)  I predict language and usage will continue to mutate, as it’s
always done…in 50 years, Walmart’s motto will be: Be Life More…


Yes, well…not to spoil the fun, but real cat would just lick it off, nez pah?


…again…Laff, darn ya!!


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