Monday, August 22, 2011

Am I Math-Challenged? (Ranting)

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I am not a big fan of numbers despite my semi-technical background but I got challenged recently by a restaurant-not-to-be-named on my ability to do simple math such ... adding! I did not plan to write about it but with the overwhelming comments on Facebook where I posted about the incident, I think it is worth sharing.  Detailed explanation is not required, a picture is worth a thousand words perhaps?
According to math.com, rounding off is a kind of estimation which the following rules apply: To round off whole numbers:
  • Find the place value you want (the "rounding digit") and look to the digit just to the right of it. 
  • If that digit is less than 5, do not change the "rounding digit" but change all digits to the right of the "rounding digit" to zero. 
  • If that digit is greater than or equal to 5, add one to the rounding digit and change all digits to the right of the rounding digit to zero.
This is no calculus but apparently at this restaurant in Causeway Bay I visited, the above universal rounding rules do not apply.
HKD 301.00 + HKD 30.1 (10% service charge) = HKD331.1 HKD332???? 
It is a matter of principle and not whether I am a cheap-ass. I can be quite generous with tips but this sort of "tricky" rounding crosses the line. Can it be a system error? HA! I think it is a client requested system specification if you ask me! I am still sort of pissed about the incident because I did not notice until afterwards (so I can ask them in person) and really surprised that such an established restaurant would do something like that to their bills. I have been told that a few other restaurants in Hong Kong implement such calculating  / rounding approach as well, just that we often neglect the importance of bills checking. Starting from now, I am on a mission to compile a list of restaurants in Hong Kong that implements such rounding practice to their bills!!! If you have experienced similar incidents at any HK restaurant, please drop me a line so I can visit and collect their bills for this project!

7 comments:

GwailoGuru said...

Does it count to name restaurants that have lunch or tea sets (with significant discounts) on their chinese menus but missing them on the ones for the tourists?

And how about menus that spot price differences in between their chinese / english versions in general?

I come over this almost daily when eating out with my friends.

Jason said...

@GwailoGuru: I would love to know which restaurants you are talking about, I would love to explore it for the sake of reporting! I think this is sort of ridiculous and the public should know about it! HK is so-called Asia's World City, such practice should not exist!!

Deb said...

In this case, I'm all for naming and shaming. Imagine how much extra cash they are pocketing with this system of rounding up?!! If the establishment cares for its clientele it will do something about it.

Cath said...

I think they actually charged you less. The total sum before 10% should be $347 instead of $301???

Cath said...

Haha, sorry my bad. I thought it's 2 x 32 and 2 x 14 :(

Anonymous said...

juz curious, so u expect them to charge u $331.1 and with all the "cents" for change ?

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why you don't reveal the name of this restaurant. Clearly it's a shameful and dishonest practice and the public should be warned, whether through your blog or other means.

You're really not helping by hiding this information.

@ Anonymous from Sep 7, 2011: take it you never did basic maths in school? I'm pretty sure Jason expected the restaurant to round it down to 331.00, this is also the practice I'm use to from overseas.

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