March 25th, 2009


Innumeracy In Everyday Life

I stopped at a Dunkin' Donuts yesterday to buy coffee. As I was standing in line, the woman in front of me asked for 15 of their donut hole thingies (Munchkins, I think they're called). After the guy behind the counter clarified that she wanted "one five" and not "five oh" he told her she couldn't have that. "That not how we sell them," he said. "You can get 6, 12, 25 or 50."
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ETA: Speaking of innumeracy, I'm often really dismayed to hear people - adult people, generally women - say in a totally offhand manner "Oh I never could do math" meaning by "math" basic number skills. They say it as if this were something of no importance whatsoever. I try each time (and fail) to imagine someone saying in that same "who cares" tone "Oh I never did learn how to read." Basic literacy and basic numbers skills are essential skills to be a functional adult. It's not a trivial matter to be missing either skill set.