Fat, Drunk and Stupid

Friday, August 21, 2009
Posted in category Public Uneducation

Here’s an article on Prudent Bear, by James Quinn, that makes some good points while it misses on many, many other points. I admit to liking the title. (His criticism starts with public schools and instead of properly declaring that public education should be abolished, he says they ”are either not teaching the right things or not using the right techniques.”) Ouch.

His article just reminded me of some personal experiences I’ve had lately. This has happened to me three times this year, twice at the same deli counter (with two different employees). The last conversation went like this.

Me: I’d like one-third of a pound of the ground sirloin. (I wanted to make one burger.)

Deli clerk: Ummm, we can’t do that because our scales here don’t work in fractions.

Me: <hesitate> Excuse me?

Deli clerk: I can do a half-pound or a full pound…anything in decimal, but not fractions.

Me:  One-third of a pound is .33 on your digital scale.

Deli clerk: Okay, let me try.

The next time at the same deli, I asked for two-thirds of a pound of baby swiss, and a different guy replied, “I can’t do fractions very well, so if you can just tell me exactly what that is on the scale, I can get it for you.” I said, ‘Try .66.”

My favorite is people not being able to count in order to give you back proper change. They even get fooled when they have a cash register doing it automatically for them. For instance, my items ring up to be $9.61. Instead of getting back .39 in change, I prefer to carry quarters because it’s less messy than carrying all that small change, and plus I use them at car washes, toll roads, etc. So I give the clerk $10.11. He or she will look at me dumbfounded (especially the young ones). I will bet back a reply, “uhhh, that was $9.61,” and I’ll say, “Yeah, I know. Just ring it up.” They do and the change reads .50 on their automatic math helper. They give me a look that says, “How’d she know that?” Public schools.

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5 Responses to Fat, Drunk and Stupid

  1. clark says:

    August 21st, 2009 at 8:37 am

    My math was always bad too. These clerks most likely were like me, a “subject” of public education’s, “New Math” and being taught the metric system and the standard system in a way that made No sense and most of us learned neither the metric nor the standard system Or math in general. It can be over come, some say, but I have never done as well as I would have liked in math (or English for that matter). I tell myself that Einstein was bad at math too, but it’s little consolation. Socialist/Progressive American parents think it’s the schools job to teach their kids, and so does the government, so the parents have little desire to educate or motivate their children. In the school system the inmates run the asylum and the culture is not one that creates a desire to learn or excel in many. Being essentially slaves in an educational prison, why would anyone have a desire to please their masters anyway, no matter how much motivation a school provides? The best math education I ever got was in the private sector while working with very smart guys with short fuses.

  2. Michael the Artist says:

    August 21st, 2009 at 5:40 pm

    Thanks to Gary North, I learned about the Khan Academy this week: http://www.khanacademy.org. Puts the public schools to shame in so many ways.

  3. Not Sure says:

    August 22nd, 2009 at 1:04 am

    I have a friend who owns a produce store. When she interviews potential new hires, she’ll ask them a simple math question or two, such as “If cucumbers are 3 for a dollar, how much is one?” She says most applicants can’t figure it out on their own and ask if they can use a calculator.

  4. larry fst says:

    August 22nd, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    you are as much in control of your own compulsory education as you are at picking your parents…lets not make fun of them.

  5. clark says:

    August 23rd, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    larry, they won’t be motivated to improve their math skills unless they are made fun of, and/or you get down-right mad at them. IMHO.

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