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