Monday, July 25, 2011

Math matters

Today it became very clear to me how important basic math skills. I already knew it but this experience really highlighted it.

Let me preface this with an explanation that math has never been my best subject. I took every math class twice in high school. I only failed once but I retook the classes so that I'd actually learn the concepts. I even took Calculus twice in university for that same reason. I barely passed the first time and I took it again and got a B+.

I don't use that much math in real life but I do add, subtract, calculate percentages and work out sales tax on a regular basis.

This morning I stopped at Walmart to get an item price matched. The Real Canadian Superstore (RCSS) is selling Xbox cards for $15 instead of $20 this week. This weekend they also offered no tax on everything in the store. The manager of the electronics section at Walmart helped me this morning. It took forever to get her to realize that no, the item is on sale for $15 - I don't save $5 from not paying the tax. That was wrong on several points:
  1. No tax on gift cards - ever. Hence, the RCSS  tax free savings didn't even apply to this item.
  2. Sales tax is 13% in Ontario. On a $20 item that would be $2.60. Not $5. The ad even specified that the item was on sale for $15 instead of $20 - a $5 savings!
She ended up calling over the store manager who looked at her like she had 3 heads and promptly told her to price match the $20 item for $15

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