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A Riddle
On a nice day in the 1940’s, three girls go into a hotel and ask for a triple. The manager says sorry, no triples are available, so he puts them in three singles, at $10 each. The girls go up to their rooms.

A few minutes later, a triple frees up, which costs just $25. So the manager, to be a nice guy, decides to move the girls into the triple and refund the $5 difference. He sends the bellboy up to tell the girls of their good fortune and move them into the triple.

While riding up in the elevator, the bellboy thinks to himself, “How can the girls split the $5? $5 doesn’t divide by 3 evenly. I’ll make it easier for them: I’ll give them just $3 — and keep $2 for myself.” So he gave the girls $3 and moved them into the triple.

Everybody was happy. The girls were happy to get refunds. The manager was happy to be a nice guy. And the bellboy was happy to keep $2.

Now here’s the problem: each girl spent $10 and got $1 back, so each girl spent $9. So altogether, the girls spent $9+$9+$9, which is $27, and the bellboy got $2. That makes $29. But we started with $30. What happened to the extra dollar?

I picked this up from agthorr - though I'm going to leave comments on. Have fun. :-) (Yes, I got it.)

Current Location: 42.308929N 71.795328W
I am: amused amused
Current Media: TiVo: Beyond Tomorrow

From: (Anonymous) Date: March 24th, 2007 10:15 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)
Three girls each start with $10
10 + 10 + 10 = 30
They give it all to the hotel:
0 + 0 + 0 + 30 = 30
The bellhop makes $5 change:
0 + 0 + 0 + 25 + 5 = 30
Bellhop gives $3 back to the girls:
1 + 1 + 1 + 25 + 2 = 30

No problems. The girls paid $30 for their room, got a refund of $3, and the bellhop kept $2. $27 - $2 = $25.

zonereyrie From: zonereyrie Date: March 24th, 2007 10:30 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)
Yep. It is really worded to misdirect you.
mdm_sosostris From: mdm_sosostris Date: March 24th, 2007 10:24 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)
Ah. AAHHH! Where's the dollar? Math hurts my head!!
zonereyrie From: zonereyrie Date: March 24th, 2007 10:32 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)
It is misdirection. :-)
weaktwos From: weaktwos Date: March 24th, 2007 10:26 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)
The $2 the bell boy received is part of the $27 they spent. $25 for the room, $2 for the bell boy with the arbitrary tip, and that is the $27.
zonereyrie From: zonereyrie Date: March 24th, 2007 10:31 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)
Ding. :-)
z_gryphon From: z_gryphon Date: March 24th, 2007 10:31 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)
Trick question; girls didn't stay in hotels by themselves in the 1940s.
zonereyrie From: zonereyrie Date: March 24th, 2007 10:31 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)
Maybe if they were no better than they ought to be. ;-)
7threality From: 7threality Date: March 25th, 2007 02:41 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)
I've always wondered about that phrase. How good ought they to be?
srmalloy From: srmalloy Date: March 25th, 2007 02:53 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
Actually, from the stories my grandmother told me about her life growing up and going to college, it wasn't that unusual even earlier; she and three of her friends travelled together on their own from the town where they'd grown up (her father was manager of an iron mine) all the way to Pittsburgh, where they rented an apartment while they were in college there. Out on their own with no male supervision, and some time before the 1940s (I don't have a good date, but my father was born in 1937, so it had to be some years before then; I don't think my grandparents married until about 1935 or so).
solipsistnation From: solipsistnation Date: March 24th, 2007 10:35 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)
It was the 40's, so the economy was fluctuating wildly due to the war. It could have been lost during one of these fluctuations, as the value of the dollar varied widely. In addition, uou don't specify whether this was pre- or post-1942, but either way the lost dollar could have been appropriated for war funds (post-1942) or, before 1942 (or during parts of 1943 and 1944), simply embezelled by Nazi sympathisers funelling funds to the Reich.
z_gryphon From: z_gryphon Date: March 24th, 2007 11:55 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)
Or Commies! The Communist Internationale did a lot of recruiting in the West during the war, under the pretext of "joining the international struggle against fascism".
solipsistnation From: solipsistnation Date: March 25th, 2007 12:39 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
True. And often (at least according to Upton Sinclair and other writers of the early 20th century), Socialists and Communist sympathizers (both members of the so-called "Popular front") came from all walks of life, even the bourgeouisie. Their ranks included not only scholars and political dilettantes but newspapermen, entrepreneurs, and hoteliers. I believe you are correct, and the bellboy or some other member of the hotel's staff has siphoned off the lost dollar to support international Communism.
halloranelder From: halloranelder Date: March 25th, 2007 12:51 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
Haven't heard that one in a long while.

Took me a few minutes of thinking to remember what the trick is, but I remembered straight away that the problem is that the riddle is actually lying to you, and not asking the right question.

The thing is, the $27 that the girls spent includes the $2 that the bellboy took, so the question is actually wrong. $25 for the room, plus $2 tip for the bellboy equals $27, plus the $3 change the girls received equals the full $30.

I've always liked this riddle because it lies to you, and shows just how easy it can be to trick you into thinking wrongly.

fubar From: fubar Date: March 25th, 2007 01:21 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
Where'd it go? The IRS. Duh.
From: murph_grrl Date: March 25th, 2007 03:32 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)
Actually, it went to the war effort.
charmingmuse From: charmingmuse Date: March 26th, 2007 03:30 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
When you stay in a hotel room alone you sleep with Hitler?
z_gryphon From: z_gryphon Date: March 27th, 2007 04:51 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
And he'll change your radio stations!

... no, wait...

I'll get it the next time. I mean it.
charmingmuse From: charmingmuse Date: March 28th, 2007 01:39 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
The Fuhrer loves Hip-Hop!