Simple Arithmetic

City Journal: The British economy continues to grow slowly, but output per hour worked remains stubbornly flat. This means that economic growth can occur only by the employment of ever more people (usually immigrants) or by extending working hours. Neither makes for a happy outcome.

Why is British productivity so stagnant? Economic journalists puzzle their brains over it. I do not have the definitive answer, but an anecdote recently told me by a man with a small catering business may shed some light on at least one factor.

The caterer urgently needed some carrots and went to a nearby small supermarket to buy them. The supermarket was about to close, and only one bag of carrots was left, selling for £1.20. He took it to the checkout, where the checkout girl noticed that the bag was torn. She said that she could not sell it to him, as some carrots might have fallen out. He said that he did not mind—he needed the carrots and was prepared to pay the full price for them.

Nevertheless, she insisted on calling her supervisor, who said that she should sell the carrots but deduct 10 percent from their price.

“How do I do that?” she asked.  MORE

11 Comments on Simple Arithmetic

  1. The Brits have suffered under Common Core for a lot longer than we have. EU sanctioned public education (also imposed on private schools) is not about academics. It is about creating compliant citizens. That is why Common Core math is counter-intuitive and illogical. It is supposed to make kids equally stupid — but right thinking.

  2. I defy the readers here to find 1 twenty to 25 year old today that can figure a 10% figure from a whole number without the use of their phone.

  3. Oh yes, the math is simple. It takes an economist to explain to you to disbelieve your own lying eyes. “It’s not the GINI, stupid.”

  4. I dare anyone to find a cashier that will give you the correct change, if you round up the total to a whole denomination of currency.

    For example. The register says $6.57 and you hand them $10.07. You’re almost guaranteed to get more or less than $3.50 in return.

  5. Social programs have a snowball effect. With the initial nudge it builds momentum and grows into a monster on the way to the bottom.

  6. Too many times I have given a cashier paper money, lets just say for example five dollars for a purchase of a dollar and forty seven cents, where by the time I reach into my pocket and grab the forty seven cents, she/he has already entered the five dollars and the register has already told them I am to receive three dollars and fifty three cents. Deer in the headlights. You try to explain to them that they can now just give you four dollars back. Everything grinds to a halt. They call the manager because now they don’t know what to do. Usually at least the manager understands what is happening but sometimes not even they do. I no longer even try but at least I have a lot a change in jars at home as a rainy day fund. Looking forward to a major power outage when they won’t even have the register to help them.

  7. Pounds in England?
    I thought they used Euros.

    Well color me surprised!
    (oh wait! is that racist?)

    izlamo delenda est …

  8. At our store we use socialist math. When a customer asks about applying our advertised 10% discount, I say “just give me all of your money” and reinforce this demand by showing them the shotgun behind the counter. That’s how you sell a package of fish well beyond the expiration date for over $100.

    Thanks, Bernie Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez – you have made my job easier and more profitable.


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