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The collected opinions of an august and aristocratic personage who, despite her body having succumbed to the ravages of time, yet retains the keen intellect, mordant wit and utter want of tact for which she was so universally lauded in her younger days. Being of a generation unequal to the mysterious demands of the computing device, Lady Bracknell relies on the good offices of her Editor for assistance with the technological aspects of her journal.

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Location: Bracknell Towers

Friday, November 23, 2007

A short test

The test will begin at your invigilator's signal. Do not turn over your test paper until the invigilator has told you that you may. Should you spoil your paper, and require a fresh sheet, raise your hand and the invigilator will supply you with one. You must show all your workings-out. The use of electronic calculating devices is not permitted.

Lady Bracknell, who was early for an appointment, went into a charity shop to look at its book section.

She espied a hand-written sign which said,

"Paperback novels, 75p each or 2 for £1. All other prices as marked."

Having chosen four paperback novels, Lady Bracknell approached the till.

"I'm sorry", she said, "I don't think I have £2 in change".

"Not to worry", replied the assistant. "We have plenty of change today".

Lady Bracknell counted the coins in her possession and discovered that she had £1.92. She advised the assistant of this fact, and paid for her books with a £10 note.

The assistant handed back £8.10 in change.

When Lady Bracknell queried the amount of change she had been given, the assistant explained that the shop's new till didn't recognise amounts ending in zero, so she couldn't key in £2.

What was the mistake the assistant made?


Anonymous Boogaloo Dude said...

Serving Lady Bracknell?

9:11 pm  
Anonymous The Great Bustard said...

Coming to work?

9:12 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Pupils who cannot restrain themselves from making facetious comments are unlikely to achieve high scores on the test.

9:14 pm  
Anonymous Aleksi said...

Mathematics was far from my strong point when I was at school, however, I strongly believe that the answer to your test involves Lady Bracknell choosing to pay £2 for the books, when they were apparently marked as two for £1 - if, of course, that was not merely an error of typing.

9:15 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Aleksi is directed to the detail in the test question of the number of books purchased by Lady Bracknell.

9:19 pm  
Anonymous Aleksi said...

Oh dear, there I go again - talking without having read something over carefully enough. That used to catch me out terribly in those 'close reading' exams we used to do in English. It just goes to show that I never learn.

Perhaps I shall have another attempt at the test, having so disasterously failed the first time: I believe that the assistant should have simply pressed the 'two' button on her till.

9:25 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

A logical answer.

Lady Bracknell is herself insufficiently familiar with till technology, however, to know whether Aleksi's suggestion would have been effective, or whether it would have resulted in the ringing up of a sale to the value of two new pence.

9:31 pm  
Anonymous Aleksi said...

I am also woefully unaware of the functions of such a machine, but as someone who most often works things out through the means of trial and error, it would be something I would try were I to know that it would not accept a zero as the final digit.
Naturally though the obvious thing to do - and I hasten to add it would be terrible to accuse the poor assistant of not using common sense, given my own oversight of this up until now - would be to simply not hand over the ten pence when passing Lady Bracknell her change.

9:41 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

A solution which, while resolving the problem, created by the idiosyncratic nature of the (presumably donated) till, of being forced to under-charge, would result in the till not balancing at the end of the day.

9:48 pm  
Anonymous Aleksi said...

Lady Bracknell is correct once again - I am starting to think perhaps this time of evening is not the best for me to be attempting puzzles of this nature.
However, I have another suggestion: I wonder if it would have been possible for the assistant to input your £1.92, and then input the remaing eight pence and get the total?
If not, then I highly suggest that the managers of the shop ask if anyone has another till they would be willing to donate...

10:00 pm  
Blogger laughingattheslut said...

Well, if she's just going to charge 1.90, why didn't she just take your 1.92 in the first place?

Why not ring up something closer to 2.00, like 1.99?

And if she can't ring up 2.00 cause it ends in zero, how come she can ring up 1.90 ending in zero?

And I don't remember if there's regular sales tax over there. If there is then she rang up even less than 1.90 if it ended up being 1.90 with the tax.

This is getting complicated. Just give the extra dime to Salvation Army or something.

I had never heard of "invigilator" before. It sounds like a sex toy.

10:25 pm  
Blogger Melissa said...

Oh Miss! Miss! Pick me! Pick me!

By accepting Lady Bracknell's £10 as payment for the books, the assistant lost 10p at the end of the sale. (The additional 10p she had to return to Lady Bracknell due to the unfortunate quirky nature of her till.)

However, if the assistant had accepted Lady Bracknell's £1.92 in change as payment for the books, the assistant would have only lost 8p on the sale.

11:16 pm  
Anonymous The Comeback Kid said...

Miss! Please Miss!!

I've spoilt my paper cos my pen went blotchy.

Can I have another one Miss??

11:17 pm  
Anonymous SphinxQueen said...

It's late, there's been beer, but I'm going to suggest two possible solutions. Charge £1.92 for the books - they'd be 2p up on the deal. OR (and call me crazy).... key in two bills for, say, £1.01 and 99p. Or is this just the beer talking? Oooh-oooh-oooh!!!! Just had a thought. If the assistant had given the correct change for the amount she'd registered on the till, well, er, doesn't £1.90 end in a zero? So how'd she do that, then, eh? Eh??

I can't help thinking I'm overthinking this, so I shall retire forthwith.

12:09 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Presumably she could have tried ringing up '2' in the hope it would be the correct amount and if indeed it only charged 2 PENCE, could have then rung up another 198?

6:48 am  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Melissa and the Sphinx Queen have given the answer which appears in the examiner's notes, and may therefore go at once to the front of the class and take a sweet from the jar.

A variety of other pupils have provided answers of a high calibre, demonstrating a clear capacity for logical thought: their papers will be marked accordingly.

In answer to the question, "How could the assistant have rung £1.90 into the till when said till can not recognise amounts ending in a zero?", Lady Bracknell can only assume that the hapless woman rang in 95 pence and multiplied it by 2.

Any charity shop worth its salt, when faced with a till forcibly reducing the value of its sales, would place a collecting tin on the counter so that customers could freely donate the change to which they had not been entitled.

Lady Bracknell is disappointed to record that the assistants in the shop in question appeared not to have considered this option. She therefore gained 10 new pence (and a purse full of change) on the transaction.

8:08 am  
Blogger Mary said...

Sorry I'm late miss... the dog ate my bus, or something.

10:48 am  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

See me after class.

10:51 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The cashier missed the Encyclopædia Britannica which wuz stuffed under me jacket.

Well obiviously I am exaggerating here.

I left the addenda 1923-1924 on the shelf for next time.

M. Orairty

5:14 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Lady Bracknell does not condone theft.

5:18 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pssssst Lady!

Wanna buy a nearly new copy of Blacks veterinary dictionary (circa 1914). Some wear to spine, but who hasn't?

There is also some indentations on the photograph of a case of strabismus in a Pekinese. Due to my aged p tracing over it. I'll take some money off for that.

Can't do fairer.

M. Orairty

5:47 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Lady Bracknell does not engage in shady deals with persons from the lower orders.

6:56 pm  
Anonymous SphinxQueen said...

Does it follow, therefore, that Her Ladyship will engage in shady deals but only with her peers? I'm shocked!

10:43 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Certainly not!

There is no skullduggery in the higher echelons of society.

10:48 pm  
Blogger Dame Honoria Glossop said...

Miss! Miss! The Great Bustard copied my answer!

1:16 pm  

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