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Old 26 July 2014, 06:12 PM
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Join Date: 18 February 2000
Location: California
Posts: 109,642
Teacher Americans are bad at fractions

This from the NYT and I'd love to believe that it's true, but it does have
a certain UL-ish look to it. Can you check it out?


"One of the most vivid arithmetic failings displayed by Americans occurred
in the early 1980s, when the A&W restaurant chain released a new hamburger
to rival the McDonald’s Quarter Pounder. With a third-pound of beef, the
A&W burger had more meat than the Quarter Pounder; in taste tests,
customers preferred A&W’s burger. And it was less expensive. A lavish A&W
television and radio marketing campaign cited these benefits. Yet instead
of leaping at the great value, customers snubbed it.

"Only when the company held customer focus groups did it become clear why.
The Third Pounder presented the American public with a test in fractions.
And we failed. Misunderstanding the value of one-third, customers believed
they were being overcharged. Why, they asked the researchers, should they
pay the same amount for a third of a pound of meat as they did for a
quarter-pound of meat at McDonald’s. The “4” in “¼,” larger than the “3”
in “⅓,” led them astray."
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