Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Laws of Rounding

The smallest coin in South Africa is a 5-cent coin, but if you go to a shop, things are marked to the cent, so something might cost R19.99. In that case, you always round DOWN to the nearest 5 or 0 (In this case, you'd pay R19.95).

SO.... I went to the grocery store to buy a few things for dinner, the lady at the till scanned my items, and the total was R26.98. I always have too much change (this comes from living in a country where there are seven coin possibilities), so I pulled out R26.95 and handed it to her. She said, "Don't you have a R1 coin?" I said, "Yes, but I'm trying to use up my change." She said, "But it's R26.98, and you only gave me 95 cents." (Pause...)

"But... you round down. It's isn't possible to give you three more cents." She then told me to give her R27. I tried to tell her that if I gave her R27, she'd just have to give me five cents back, but she wouldn't believe me. Finally she called the manager over who said, "Just enter R26.95. The till automatically rounds down." The woman looked at her like this was one of life's great mysteries, and who knows - maybe it is.

I just wanted to use up my coins.

1 comment:

jonna said...

Thanks for the heads up : ) I've decided to not worry about teaching my kids all the US money as they will have to learn something totally different once we move. What's the big deal if they call all coins quarters for the next few months?