I’m an Evil Math Demon – Love That Outcome Based Education….
I’m notorious for keeping up with math daily, especially at the checkout. I don’t really believe in dumping my change into a piggy bank every night, because we have to pinch pennies. And pennies, believe it or not, do buy things. So when I pay cash, I try to give as exact of change as possible. Additionally, I figure it out in my head to receive the least amount of coins back too. Fast and efficient. It’s good for the mind and it’s very simple math. Well, at least it should be.
But instead it seems to draw deer in the headlight stares and almost always a slowed, “uuuhhhhh….?” from the cashier. Suddenly Mr. Super fast with the fries has to slow down and think. And the silly thing is, they don’t have to. They should be able to punch it into their cash register like any other amount someone might give them and still get a correct answer. But that’s not what happens. Going outside of the box trips them up every time. And makes it sad that something as simple and essential as the skill of counting money can now be labeled, outside the box.
Granted, the American educational system has not exactly done good justice to the subject of math. I hear all the time how much people don’t like math, or don’t understand math or aren’t good at math. Plus I even hear how you never really need to use math once you’re grown. Computers do it for you. So why make anyone learn?
But what is it about even simple Math? I mean seriously. When you’re working a cash register, you should be able to do simple math. I’m no higher math guru, but adding and subtracting is the foundation of accounting. And accounting is what tells you what money you have to spend.
If my bill is $6.20 and all I have is a $20 bill and $1 and 20 cents in coins, it’s so easy to simply hand me $15 back in change. Not only do I have less change in my pocket, but I’m also less likely to break a five or ten for an impulse buy (especially junk). With a bunch of ones and coins on hand, not so much. It’s the same principal every waitress knows. People are more likely to spend a little extra in ones and change on your tip and less likely to let go of larger bills. So when you bring them change, make sure there are plenty of ones! So by doing what I do at the cash register, I’m killing several birds with one stone just by thinking ahead. Simple!
And yet on several occasions someone has handed my money back to me and said I gave them too much and they couldn’t figure it out.
Tonight? The cherry was paying our dinner bill for $25.42 with two twenties and 45 cents in coins. By which the cashier became flustered and confused and promptly rang up as 40 plus 25.42 and then couldn’t figure out his error. In the mean time, the line is backing up. And while the cashier is trying to figure out his math, folks in line are starting to sigh. All because I decided to go against the tides and pay with more exact bills and change. Sometimes when something like this happens, they even start thinking you’re trying to cheat them somehow by deliberately confusing them. Good grief, seriously? No one has ever handed you well thought out bills and coins before?? At this rate, how will you get practice in the real world to exercise your math skills in adulthood?
So I’m the evil math demon. I’m the reason why you were late from lunch. I tempted the fates by using my mind and a math code of my own and the cogs of society came to a halt. I should just conform and let everyone’s life keep moving. And yet, if my math behavior is so unusual, how can I possibly stop. Someone has to keep the skill alive. Who’s going to watch the deficit?