Why Math is Important

This is a bit off my normal topics – however…

Yesterday I stopped at a store.  I was near their clearance section and saw something I wanted to buy.  It was 75% off the normal $9.99 price.  I went to the register and it rang up as $4.25.  I commented to the young cashier that it was 75% off of the $9.99 price (I was giving her the opportunity to realize there was an error).  She said yes – $4.25!  I think my lip hit the floor.  She then asked what was wrong.  I told her ok let’s simplify this – “let’s make the regular price $10 if it is 75% off how much should the price be?” She said “the register says it’s $4.25.”  As a fellow human being my brain went into shock!

I finally did get the correct price but even the manager had to use a calculator!  Don’t get me wrong I am not opposed to technology – but it seems to be favored instead of using your brain.  That, blows my mind.

As someone who loves analytics and ROI for marketing campaigns – I do wonder sometimes if the next generation will really understand math, a deep intuitive understanding, something that rings bells and whistles when someone is wrong.

I don’t believe you need a deep understanding of calculus or differential equations to understand most business math, but a real good core of algebra and statistics is critical.  Simple math is an absolute requirement.

Yes I use excel and yes I use formulas but I always double-check the answers initially to make sure they are valid and that my formula is correct as well.  The ability to explain your results is also critical, it isn’t enough to say “that is what the formula said” – to me this is the same as “that is what the register said the price is.”

Come on be geeky, think with your head, if not you might become a drone!

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About thegeekymarketer

Part Geek - Part Marketer - Kim Kachadoorian is currently seeking to apply her talents to a new company! Check out www.geekymarketer.com for more information about me!
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2 Responses to Why Math is Important

  1. Susan Linck says:

    Kim,
    This is not new! As I am a retailer (began in the biz in late 70’s) I can tell you that many consumers might (?) be able to calculate a 50% discount but it is not uncommon for 25% off to require translation by the sales associate. Age is not a factor here. Nor is the use of computers or calculators, although they may add to the lack of basic math skills. And if the consumer can’t do the simple math the sales associate probably can’t either. Store Managers need to teach cashiers how to count back change, as well as how to smile at the customer.
    Is it any wonder that so many consumers can’t understand their own finances/mortgages/credit card interest?

    • Susan I agree – it is not new – but indeed frustrating. I was also in retail, I made applicants take a math test, most of them couldn’t do 10% in their head (they didn’t get the job either)! Math is so important in almost any field, so I continue to be amazed at how many people cannot do simple math! Maybe I have been watching “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader” too much!

      Marketing was mostly void of math (except budgets) until the last decade – now marketers must show ROI on most or all projects undertaken. This created a whole new field for people like me that like a little math and like marketing (both sides of the brain).

      Kim – The Geeky Marketer

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