Monday, October 13, 2008

Less Than a Dollar

I saw this sign in a Department of Health building in Olympia, Washington. Take a look:

Do you see the problem?

How much per pound do potatoes and cantaloupe cost?

Ninety-nine cents?

Look closely.

You would think someone working for a State agency would know the difference between a dollar sign and a cents sign. Sure, enough, the person who made this sign knows there is a difference. Clearly, this person does not know how to apply the difference.

One of my earliest school memories where I remember actual words said comes from second grade. I had learned in one lesson about the cents sign. In a math lesson later—I specifically remember what happened—I wrote out an answer with a dollar sign and a decimal point. I then remembered the cents sign. I erased the dollar sign and wrote a cents sign after the number (the answer was less than a dollar). However, I left the decimal point. My teacher saw what I had done and told me about the error. I didn’t understand her, but she told me I would in a few years. I remembered the exchange, and did understand what the teacher was talking about a couple years later.

I made the mistake in second grade. I would assume anyone making a chart like this would not make the mistake. Or, a least, a co-worker would point it out before it had been up long enough for people to see it.

I would also like to know what someone was thinking with the exclamation points. Did they say, “I want to show how inflated the price is, so if one exclamation is good, four should be great!!!!”

1 comment:

Violence Worker said...

So, if it is .99¢, shouldn't your title be "Less Than a Penny?"

Just askin'