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Excuse me, could I please speak to someone in India?

April 21, 2007

I can’t remember where I saw this…

Suppose you have wireless internet service on your laptop.  You are online a lot, so you paid for the unlimited plan; all the internet you want, all the time, anywhere.  Except Canada, that is.  You know the rate is different in Canada, so before going there, you call to check the Candadian rate.  You were clearly told;
”.002 cents per kilobyte”. Just to be sure, you grilled them on it, and made them note it in your account.  You went to Canada, surfing all over the place with your neato wireless plan.

Then you got the bill.  You were charged $71.78 for 35893 kilobytes.  That works out to .002 dollars per kilobyte, or 100 times the rate you were quoted.

Well!  Should be easy enough to clear up.  You have the quoted rate, and the bill.  You call them up, only to be shifted from one supervisor to another, unable to make anyone at Verizon understand the difference between .002 dollars and .002 cents.

.002 dollars = two tenths of a cent
.002 cents = two thousandths of a cent

and they don’t get it.

So you create a blog called “Verizon Math”, where amazed listeners can actually hear a 22 minute recording of one of the customer service calls you made.  One of the representatives, when asked if there is a difference between .002 dollars and .002 cents, clearly answers; “No.”  Another complains; “There’s no such thing as .002 dollars!” while yet another says; “Well I’m not a mathematician.”  They kept quoting his rate as “.002 cents per kilobyte” and still getting the total wrong.

It’s frustrating to listen to, but I could imagine playing an excerpt to a math class next time one of the kids says; “Why do we have to know this stuff?”

Categories: Stupidity
  1. April 21, 2007 at 16:02 | #1

    Wow!  Yet another reason why I place high priority of education…

  2. Mina
    April 21, 2007 at 23:31 | #2

    No way. They’ve got to have been told to not admit the difference.

  3. zilch
    April 22, 2007 at 04:52 | #3

    Don’t listen to this recording if you don’t want your head to asplode…

  4. Avocet
    April 23, 2007 at 17:59 | #4

    Yeah.  I’ve tried explaining to many a shopkeeper that a price of .99ยข for a loaf of bread is less than a penny, and they simply can’t comprehend it.

  5. zilch
    April 24, 2007 at 06:21 | #5

    Kelly Hawk entered a very funny definition for “verizonmath” to Wikipedia, which was subsequently dumbed down and then deleted.  But he’s posted the original here for your delectation.

  6. Abhilasha
    April 24, 2007 at 11:52 | #6

    This is just unbelievable…

    i think “0” does not hold any significance in their math…

  7. Bryan Oyer
    April 25, 2007 at 15:17 | #7

    ???? Some one should just explain this to verizon representative. “Don’t confuse a kilobyte with the 1/1000 of a cent. 500 kilobytes will cost one penny. 5000 kilobytes will cost one dollar.  Divide 35893 by 5000=the number of dollars to bill a person” Obviously, this is a way to confuse customers and many of the innocent verizon workers.

  8. April 29, 2007 at 20:56 | #8

    Oh, this one’s too good… an example from the pharmacutical industry: Yes, the decimal point matters.

    Turned out as badly as you might expect, with the medicine dispensed at 10x concentration.

  9. April 30, 2007 at 01:41 | #9

    What’s the big deal, DOF?  The drug involved, colchicine, is a natural product.  Three people died.  But death is natural, too, isn’t it?  These people would have died someday anyway, wouldn’t they?

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