[Numeracy 449] Re: Monday Puzzle

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Chip Burkitt chip.burkitt at orderingchaos.com
Mon Aug 2 19:21:49 EDT 2010

This old chestnut relies on the reader's inability to think clearly
about the values being presented and what they represent. The $2 in the
bellhop's pocket should not be added to the $27 paid by the men. That $2
is the /difference/ between the $27 the men paid and the $25 the room
actually cost. The difference between the $27 and the original $30 is
$3, the amount returned to the three men. At the end of the story we
have three amounts which total $30:
Cost of the room--- $25
Bellhop's pocket--- $ 2
Returned to men--- $ 3
These three amounts can be taken two at a time as follows:
Amount men paid--- $25 + $2 = $27
Amount actually refunded--- $2 + $3 = $5
Cost of room plus amount returned to men--- $25 + $3 = $28
The story refers to only the first two amounts. Clearly, it does not
make sense to add the $2 a second time to get $29 ($25 + $2 +$2).
Instead the $2 should be added to the third, unnamed amount.

Chip Burkitt

On 8/2/2010 5:11 PM, Istas, Brooke wrote:


> Three men go to a motel to rent a room for the night. The manager is

> not there so the bellhop waits on them. He doesn't know how much the

> room is so he decides to charge them $10 per person making the total

> cost for the room $30 dollars. When the manager returns, the bellhop

> tells the manager what he did. The manager tells the bellhop that the

> room is not that much and gives $5 dollars back to the bellhop to give

> to the men. On the bellhop's way to the room, he thinks about the

> trouble of dividing $5 dollars among the three men so he puts $2 in

> his pocket and gives each man in the motel room $1 dollar back. Now,

> if they each paid $9 for their room, 3 X $9 = $27 plus the $2 the

> bellhop put in his pocket equals $29 dollars. What happened to the

> other $1 dollar?


> If you figure this riddle out, please reply with your answer and

> explanation. Good Luck this one is tricky but my adult learners love

> these types of activities.


> Happy Monday!


> Brooke Istas



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