Imagine that you need 42 ounces of Skittles. We’re not sure what you need them for; it’s your life. When shopping in large quantities, always check for dastardly Target Math, which exists to trip up innocent shoppers like you who just want a large quantity of something. Instead, Target Math makes you pay more per ounce when you buy in bulk, while you could have purchased multiples of a smaller size for less money. [More]
“How dumb does Bed Bath & Beyond think we are?” writes reader Kristina. Well…maybe they’re just working from assumptions about the average American consumer’s math skills. This coupon offers $25 off a $125 purchase, which is great if and only if you want to spend exactly $125 at the store. [More]
Shopping at Party City, Jeff noticed this odd sticker. It advertises discounts of “up to 75% off” and that the item retails at $9.99 and now costs $10. Only that’s not really the confusing part.
Garrett understands math. And he knows that 60% off, then 25% off does not equal 85% off. That’s what the signs at Kohl’s said, and he assumed that was the discount he would get. No, the items he bought rang up at the lower price. He wrote to Kohl’s, thinking maybe that they would say, “Oh, yes, customer, you’re right; we just had the wrong signs up.” Not so fast! They insisted that the wrong math was really right. [More]
Math is all around us, in the leaves on the tree, inside the crystals of an icicle, and in a delicious slice of 4-cheese pizza served up by your favorite New York pizza parlor, 7-11.
Reader Nathan spotted these confusing sale signs at a Belk and can’t figure out how much off he’s supposed to get. Can you?
No, you can’t buy the 12-pack for $12. We checked.
Target continues its rebranding as the Duchamp of retail stores, with this receipt that indicates savings where no savings ever existed. Or perhaps multi-dimensional savings; we can’t pretend to know what Target sees when it stares into the void. Mark notes, “The cookies were on sale, as indicated. The cascade, I had a coupon for it to be free. Total savings should be $4.23. The receipt says $7.37. Maybe it’s a conspiracy since it is the Love Field (near the airport) in Dallas where Southwest flies only 737s.” That’s as good an explanation as any, Mark. Maybe you should work for Target?
Nine West wasn’t sure how much tax to charge Jane for her online order so they have gave her a price that was $5.48 less than what they actually charged. When Jane wrote in to complain and to ask for her money back, Nine West explained that it was impossible to instantly calculate how much tax to charge because they use two highly-sophisticated tax gizmos that simply can’t interface with their online store. Jane wants to know if Nine West’s charges are ethical and whether it’s worth complaining over six bucks.
Now if your kids ask you why they have to learn math, you can tell them, “Because if you don’t, you could ruin the global economy, you little beast.” Wired has just published an article that traces the entire clusterfrak back to a formula published in 2000 by a mathemetician working for JPMorgan Chase. Bankers loved its simplicity but completely misused it—despite warnings from academics that it was flawed—to turn pretty much every security into a triple-A, no-risk fabrication.
Kevin sent us this picture of a non-sale at Target with the following explanation: “I took the attached picture back in October and noticed today that their pricing still makes no sense (I brought this up to customer service back in October and was told that they will have a manager take a look at it).”
The Wall Street Journal covers a new study that determines the best and worst jobs in America using five criteria: environment, income, employment outlook, physical demands and stress. When all was said and done, all the data weighed and all the experts consulted, one occupation stood head and shoulders above the rest: mathematician. Yep, you read that correctly. Here’s why it took the top spot:
Lets start Monday off with some math: If I buy food totaling 20.84 from Wendy’s and pay with two fifteen dollar gift cards, how many gift cards should I have left? Puzzling answer inside.
Here’s a fun little mystery for you guys. How can taking away 4 oz of coffee produce more cups of coffee? We’ve been thinking about it ever since Blueprint for Financial Prosperity sent us this photo the other day, and we just can’t figure it out. Could it be magic? Some strange new property of the Grocery Shrink Ray?
Dan can do math in his head, which is a great skill these days when you’re checking out the n objects for x price! specials at Target. In this case, Dan notes that the “temporary price cut” is so temporary that it doesn’t even exist: you’ll pay 13 cents more per box if you buy three of them. This is the third Target “special” we’ve seen this month that screws the consumer. Are we seeing a new trend? Is it legal to call it a price cut if it’s not?
The New York Times has an interesting series of tests and explanations that show why and how the human brain makes errors in estimating probability—and consequently, why we get suckered even if we think we’re overall pretty smart.