Home > Back in Smoky CA/ Counting Change

Back in Smoky CA/ Counting Change

July 8th, 2008 at 05:47 am

We are back in CA after a relaxing week in Idaho. Since today was a workday for me, we were pressed to get home yesterday. The drive took much longer than usual due to horrendous traffic conditions that can be attributed to normal holiday traffic plus slowdowns due to the wild fires. The air was very thick with smoke and the traffic bumper-to-bumper for miles on end.

On the way home, we stopped for breakfast at a busy café and while we waited in line to pay our tab, I observed something that I am seeing more and more and it concerns me. The computer was down, so the young cashier had to count out the change on her own. Normally, the computerized cash register tells the cashier exactly how much change to give. It was sad to see how complicated this process turned out to be for the cashier (about age 18-20). After several attempts, the young woman gave back too much change to the woman ahead of us. The woman then said, “You gave me too much change,” and very patiently demonstrated to the cashier how to count back change from the $50 bill she had paid with. Years ago, I remember teaching my 6th graders how to count change and now it seems that we are relying on the computer to do it for us.

2 Responses to “Back in Smoky CA/ Counting Change”

  1. monkeymama Says:

    It is very disturbing the math skills of the young these days. I think a LOT can be attributed to calculators.

    I am relieved my young kids take such an interest in math now, before they even know what a calculator is. I think it behooves kids to understand math before the calculator is introduced.

    We notice this in my industry. My employer gives a basic IQ kind of test to EVERY potential employee. He said the CPAs can no longer even pass high school proficiency on the test (no calculator allowed). HE said don't ask how some of the lower level staff score. I am the only one in the office under 40. Mostly because so few my age (30) can pass the test. But you know, employer expects his CPAs to know high school level math.

    Likewise, I have a relative who teaches remedial math at a community college. She said in the last 2-3 years in particular the number of students needing remedial math has exploded. She told me my 4-year-old knew and understood more math than most of these people. They've memorized basic equations but don't have an inkling of understanding when it comes to elementary school math.

    Finally, I went to the gym and gave my pass #, I said "one thousand five." This teen girl looks at me blankly. "One zero zero zero 5?" Since then I play it safe and just say "ten zero five." Oy vey.

    Needless to say if I was somewhere with a non-working register and a young person, I would run the other way. LOL.

    But really, no laughing matter.

    The schools are failing big time, but where in the hell are the parents? Why does my 4-year-old know more math than the average young adult?

  2. Ima saver Says:

    My husband waited for 20 minutes in home depot the other day. The girl was trying to figure up how many feet 4 pieces of 16 foor trim had. (4 x 16) She finally came up with 48 and my dh said, no it is 64 feet. She asked him how he figured that out in his head. She was adding it up on paper. ( I should have said 16 foot, not foor)

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