We’ve all had moments where we think the system is taking advantage of us. How one deals with those moments is what matters. Here’s how one customer almost got it right, but didn’t.
I had just finished visiting a friend in the hospital and stopped by a burger drive-through for lunch to eat on the way back to work. I ordered the #1 combo (burger, fry, coke) for $4.29. She said “that’ll be $4.83, please drive forward.”
“$4.83?? For a $4.29 meal?? That’s 54 cents tax!? That can’t be right,” my mind raced. Tax is 8 cents on the dollar in Huntsville, Alabama and for 4 dollars that would be 32 cents plus 1/3 (29) of 8 cents would be 35 cents max.
I’d heard of window workers overcharging drive through customers and skimming the money for themselves. Someone did just that to me at a Hardees couple of years ago.
I didn’t have my calculator watch (I lost it a while back) so I got a pen and paper and did the long division since there were 2 cars ahead of me. Let’s see … 483/429 … over 12 percent tax!? When I got to the window I handed her a 5 and said “what’s the sales tax in Huntsville?” She didn’t know. I said “$4.83 for a $4.29 meal is 12 percent tax. That can’t be right. Can I talk to the manager?” She gave me my change and called the manager So the manager comes over.
I ask what the sales tax is in Huntsville, and she says 8 percent. I say that I just paid $4.83 for a $4.29 meal and that’s over 12 percent sales tax.
She got a funny look on her face and said that maybe the computer had rung it up wrong or had charged me for the biggie size (biggie upgrade was 35 cents – which would be 4.64 plus tax which would put it over $5). She admitted it was supposed to be 4.63, and opened the drawer to give me my extra change.
“HA!” I thought to myself. “Six years engineering school has so heightened my mental mathematical adeptness that I can do percentages in my head and my superior intellect has foiled a feeble attempt by a drive-through worker to overcharge me!”
So what did this mathematical wizard do next? I took the twenty cents she handed me, proud of my staggering genius, and smugly drove off without my food.
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