Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Double the tax

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There’s a danger, Dear Gentle Reader(s), in using mnemonics for math problems, especially the advanced mathematics required for affixing the proper amount of tip to a restaurant bill.

For years here in California, it was easy to tip the customary 15%.  The state sales tax was 7 1/2%, so one only had to double the tax to be home free.

Then the tip rose to a new custom—20%.  Well, that’s OK, too.  One simply has to double the first single digit of a bill under $100, or double the first two digits of a bill under $1000.  (One doesn’t entertain the thought of a bill over $1000, does one?  Not this one.)

Recently a problem arose with the combination of the partial mnemonic double the and gin (Bombay martini—not Sapphire) followed by wine (house red) at dinner.  The thought process went something like this:

Let’s see.  The bill is $98.00.  Double the 9 for $18.  What?  Um, no.  I don’t need a doggie bag.  Where was I?  Tip.  Let’s see.  $18 doubled is $36.  Easy.  Tote it up.  Sign it.  There.  Ready to go.

Something dawned the next morning.  (let’s see…four fingers minus three toes plus one nostril…hmmm…uh-oh!)

Let that be a lesson to me, DGR(s). 

Pass the bill to someone else.

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1 comment:

  1. Huh. A useful trick not taught in any math class yours truly suffered through. Thanks for sharing.

    Of course, in a couple of weeks, we'll be able to fall back on the "double the tax" method in L.A.