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to expect someone on the till to be able to do simple sums in head?

(54 Posts)
Blondeshavemorefun Tue 11-Aug-09 13:48:43

I went to a soft play area this am and we stayed for lunch

all drinks, food, crisps etc are price ranged at 50p or £1.00 or £1.50 or £2.00

simple to work out,you would have thought hmm

he wrote the order down and it looked like this

2 sandwiches @ £2 each = 4.00
tea 1.00
kids drink .50
3 crisps @ .50 each 1.50
2 banana @.50p each 1.00
apple .50

and he took forever to work it out

I looked at it and managed to work out it was £8.50 and I was reading upside down grin

then said it came to £ 9.00

i said no it was £8.50 and he disagreed

he counted again and said it was £9,00 - i said no it was £8.50 and in the end the manager came out (who was pratically still in nappys grin) - who looked at it, and agreed it was £9.00 so also couldnt work it out hmm

and eventually did it on the calculater on my phone

and yes it was £8.50


aibu to expect a prob 18/20yr to be able to work out simple sums - esp if they are on the till?

pjmama Tue 11-Aug-09 13:56:32

Oh dear, I bet they felt a bit silly after that!

I have to admit though, when I read the title my first though was "must have had a baby". Despite doing a complicated IT programming job for years pre-children, I now struggle to add up to 20 (and only if I remove my socks and shoes first). wink

Since you're talking about a young man though, there's no excuse really! What ARE they teaching them in schools these days....?

stuffitlllama Tue 11-Aug-09 14:06:07

yes, yabu, I'm afraid

TheInvisibleManDidIt Tue 11-Aug-09 14:06:36

Very young girl works down out local shop got extremley confused last week when my bill came to £5.24, and I handed her £10.24.

She tried 3 times to give me the 24p back before the next checkout assistant explained it was soo much easier to give me £5 change..

GreebosWhiskers Tue 11-Aug-09 14:07:37

I remember a girl (aged about 19) on the counter in a cafe being unable to work out 4 x £2.50. She just stood looking blank until I told her the answer hmm

MaryBS Tue 11-Aug-09 14:11:33

YANBU, but might be being unrealistic! However, the fact they argued with you without properly checking is in many ways worse!

I bought 3 items once, which had 1/3 off. Girl was trying to work out a 1/3 of one of them and was struggling. I told her to charge me for 2 of them and explained why. She had to work it out both ways and was really surprised when they came to the same total!

clumsymum Tue 11-Aug-09 14:13:56

Now, what was it this government said when they first came to power ????

Education, Education, Education.

Basics like this just continue to go by the board. Which is why, this holidays, ds (9) and I spend a little bit of each day going through some times tables (the way they are taught at school doesn't seem to make them stick), and doing a bit of maths, as well as his music practice, so he doesn't end up like those teenagers.

Oh and you are NOT being unreasonable.

Blondeshavemorefun Tue 11-Aug-09 14:16:57

i could almost understand it if was a woman and had just had a baby grin

but seriously the amounts arent that hard - its not like adding 35p and 57p and 1.29 etc

shock at 1/3 off and 4 times 2.50

ShauntheSheep Tue 11-Aug-09 14:18:11

Sadly it doesnt surprise me at all. People no longer need totting up skills because they have machines to do it for them and it is a skill that need practice. I can do basic totting but dont trust myself to get it right but my dad who used to work in a bank can tot in groups of 3!!!! Now that really impresses me.

PuppyMonkey Tue 11-Aug-09 14:18:38

Why didn't he just add it up on his till?

BitOfFun Tue 11-Aug-09 14:20:12

I'm pretty good at simple arithmetic most of the time, but if you haven't eaten for a while, been standing all day and are dreaming of going home, Scatto Brain does strike at times...

Blondeshavemorefun Tue 11-Aug-09 14:22:48

till wasnt working

but i just find it sad and unreasonable grin that someone cant add up simple sums

and wonder how many times he got it wrong and no one queried it

maye im anal for adding it up myself upside down and not taking his answer as being correct smile

nellynaemates Tue 11-Aug-09 14:25:05

I am pretty good at maths generally and my mental arithmetic's very reliable. However, when I was working at a till (in a bar) I often had a mind freeze because I got paranoid about getting it wrong! I put really simple things through the till because of a lack of confidence, not a lack of education or brains.

However, he really should have been able to get it after you corrected him the first time, no excuses for the triple stupidity of the manager too!

MoonIsATiredSlayer Tue 11-Aug-09 14:29:29

YANBU although I think people have always been like that. Some people are good at mental arithmetic and some aren't.

I remember my sister getting really confused once when my mum gave her a pound and said we were to have 50p each when we got to the shop, I already had 50p so I said to her give me the pound and you have this fifty but she refused on the basis that I would have more than her! She just didn't get it at all than when we went to the shop and split the pound I would still have more than her. She's still a bit like this. I hope she isn't on MN or she'll kill me.

SecretNinjaChipmunk Tue 11-Aug-09 14:29:43

my ds is only 22 mths and can count to 8. after reading this i shall make it a personal crusade to make sure he can do simple arithmatic when he's old enough so he is not like these idiots. yanbu to expect someone to be able to add up. i can't believe you are allowed to leave school without knowing it personally (and yes i know i'm in for a shock when ds starts school!)

CyradisTheSeer Tue 11-Aug-09 14:35:09

Message withdrawn

cat64 Tue 11-Aug-09 14:40:51

Message withdrawn

VoodooBetterGetPacking Tue 11-Aug-09 14:49:05


give people on tills a break.
I can do maths in my head, but if Im in a situation where an impatient person is glaring me down suddenly I can't add/subtract/work percentages for toffee

chill out!!

bamboobutton Tue 11-Aug-09 14:54:01


would you scorn someone who was dyslexic??

perhaps you should consider that they might have have dyscalculia, which isn't as well known as dyslexia but does exist.

Blondeshavemorefun Tue 11-Aug-09 15:02:45

im not scorning someone who cant write/spell (my spelling is good sometimes but my typing is rubbish) smile


as it is part of his job - he should be able to add up 6 numbers all ending with .00 or .50

or the soft play area should put someone on the till who can add up

and i was far from glaring at him - i was smiling patiently - but sure the 10 people behind me werent grin

but it was prob more his attitude of not beleiving me and then the manager doing the same

why not help the poor man and gave him a calculater

slug Tue 11-Aug-09 15:23:33

Don't get me started!!!

As an ex maths teacher I get this all the time. I used to specialise in teaching adults who had badly underperformed in maths at school (Getting less than a grade F at GCSE for example) I used to shudder at how, after 12 years in the English education system, any number over 10 was 'lots'. They frequently did not even have a grasp of concept that we order numbers in 10s. I blame calculators. There is a large element of practise about the whole thing. Even discalculic students can function mathematically with a lot of practise and some 'tricks of the trade'. The problem I always encountered with my students was the inertia factor. Adding up required them to think and thinking is hard, so they would give up and try to sneak out their mobile phones instead.

It's not restricted to the lower ends of the IQ spectrum either. I once did long division on the board in front of an MSc class, many of whom had Maths degrees (I don't BTW) and they all squawked and made me stop and do it slower. they had their calculators out and couldn't understand how I managed to do it by hand, and know whether or not I had vaguely the right answer.

PixiNanny Tue 11-Aug-09 16:01:21

I am really embarrassed when I go into shops and people my age can't add things up (I'm 20). I mean seriously, I know children who can do better?!

So no, YANBU to expect them to be able to do this. Especially at a till where you know you have to work with numbers. Yes occassional mind freeze is a pain (I worked in a shop and a restaurant for a few years) but really, considering how often it happens it can not just be mind freeze...

Morloth Tue 11-Aug-09 16:03:35

Meh, I have brain farts all the time. Was probably just that.

GibbonInARibbon Tue 11-Aug-09 16:09:43


And mean but I think you know that. Nothing like a cheap laugh and feeling superior.

PuppyMonkey Tue 11-Aug-09 16:12:09

But it isn't usually part of his job to add things up in his head is it? You said the till wasn't working. But presumably it usually is working, so he adds it up on the till.

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