A full 20 per cent of European consumers are too befuddled to work out which is the cheaper flat screen TV when given a choice of two*, European Commission research has found. The figures, released today, show that fewer than two-thirds of consumers could read an ingredients label, while 18 per cent of shoppers are flummoxed …
The Majority Report
'Majority' is the singular of the noun; hence, "There is a majority", "A majority was obtained".
However, 'The majority of them' is a reference to a number of people (or things), where that number must be greater than one. Hence, "The majority of them were confused."
Can we get a majority concensus on this?
@The Majority Report
Only after you learn how to spell consensus. Or were you trying to take the (purple) michael out of the recent attempt to glean lots of new marketing detail for the Americans?
(The obvious icon choice)
Correction for thedweeb
I would assume you are one of those people who take pride in their superior intellectual skills. Despite this your sentence lacks the correct grammatical rules.
I'm guessing this is better you pedantic bastard? Yet I think that you may still find some issue with my post.
Majority of them is a reference?
Sir, you are a C programmer, who understands pointers.
Before you all dive in...
...to bemoan the state of (several) European education systems, perhaps you should remind yourselves that this is a consumer survey and so 99% of its findings are worthless.
In this case, I'd suggest that the sort of person who responds to the survey probably has too much spare time on their hands and there might be a reason for that.
And 100% click "accept" without reading the agreement
I have some sympathy with the 18% who were flummoxed by a BBD. Given that a date such as 08/03/11 could refer to August, March or November over a span of 8 years, it's easy to see where the confusion can arise.
It's really well past time (that time was 31/12/99) that we all agreed that representing three different fields with three identically formatted values in no standard format is a recipe for confusion, if not disaster. Surely it's not that difficult to use three letters for the month and remember the lessons of Y2K and have a 4-digit year value? Though whether that year should be western, jewish, chinese or another choice still leaves a lot of room for misunderstanding.
The trouble with textual representations of the months is that they are monolingual. Since the world has a multiplicity of languages, that works against cross-border understanding.
We should adopt the ISO standard forthwith, preferably backdated to 0000-01-01 (yes, the ISO standard has a year 0!).
The other trouble with representing the month with the usual three letters is that they are not alphabetically in the right order. I often use a date in a filename, so a letter to the bank on 5 Apr 2011 would be "bank_11'4'05.odt". That puts my files in date order in the default file manager view.
Note that my year'month'day has the most significant first, the reverse of normal British practice. For October, November and December I use the hex digits a, b and c. It might catch on one day [sigh], but meanwhile it works well for me.
The real problem is the USA practice of ordering it as month, day, year - a muddled order of importance.
That's my wife.....
It's 10% off, I've saved you money!
I suppose 10% of a lot is ....... a lot that she's saved me. I'm so lucky.... ;-)
Stop the world please,
I want to get off now.
Reading a contract?
Well, there's having a rough idea of what you're signing. And then there's reading through 20 pages of small print, fully understanding what all the legal terms mean - and then keeping updated when they dubiously "update" the terms and conditions without your consent.
Whilst it's sad if people happily enter a contract without looking at it at all, how many of us actually read every last word?
"These days, I've seen shop assistants reach for their calculator to add a few simple numbers (both less than 20)"
I've seen Cambridge maths professors reaching for a calculator ... Using a calculator (which everyone has with them these days, even if just on a phone) isn't so bad as long as you know how to do the calculation. I fear the bigger problem here is that many people wouldn't know how to do it even with a calculator - that they wouldn't understand what percentage difference means.
"Whilst it's sad if people happily enter a contract without looking at it at all"
It's sad that almost everything we want to do in life comes with a 20 page contract or user agreement.
Add up all the contracts you have agreed to and the total comes to thousands of pages.
This shit needs to be simplified, big time.
I'm numerically dyslexic, yet I find 10% of 500 to be a bit of a no-brainer...
I guess this should make me feel better, but for some reason I'm crying inside.
But what about ...
... the half price Stand, the Extended Warranty, the delivery charge, the 16 way surge protection socket, the full set of gold plated cables and the bottle of screen cleaner.
The cheapest way to buy a TV
Forget the maths, it's almost always cheaper to buy a flight to the States and buy it there, even with the cost of flight and voltage adaptors :)
Evil Steve because even after taking into account the exchange rate and VAT, Apple products (along with most others to be fair) are always more expensive in Europe than the US.
I do actually work with a few people who have no idea how to calculate for percentages.
What's most alarming about this is that among all the maths you learn at school percentages are among the most useful in everyday life.
Total price, all in
...some reviews of products don't help - for example 3DTV's where you don't get any bundled glasses, and yet this doesn't feature in the headline price or perhaps get taken in to account in the final review score.
You wouldn't know of any reviews that fail on that test, would you El Reg?
I always base my buying habits on a single review.....
and blame others when I don't get the best deal.
I always base my posting habits on a single comment.....
and blame others when I get offended.
Mind you, shops delibrately confuse
In supermarkets, there is supposed to be a representative price on the tickets to allow easy comparison, like so many pence per amount of weight.
Unfortunately, my local T***o appears to deliberately compare different weights on the tickets, so one item will be priced per 250g, and another will be priced per 100g (and I have seen worse ones involving amounts like 330g, 350g).
There is only one purpose in this, and that is to defeat the measures introduced to allow product comparison.
I'm pretty good a mental arithmetic still, but sometimes I have to think for a few seconds before deciding which item is the best value. Other people wanting best value tend to just go for the supermarket brand, believing it will always be cheaper. More often than you may think, they are wrong.
I'm not saying that it's not a poor reflection on the education system nowadays, but it is clear that shops make it deliberately difficult.
Re: Mind you, shops delibrately confuse
What about similar items when one is in grams and another brand is in ml (happens with yogurt drinks: Danone Actimel is sold in ml, Yakult in grams)? Maybe they need to put the density on the packet as well!
Yet more confusion
My local S********s does this with vegetables.. you can buy loose [75p per KG] or in a bag of three 75p [25p each].. So how much does one weigh? god knows! they don't have a customer scales.
Re: Mind you, shops delibrately confuse, again
Yes! ffs!!11! These supermarket scam tactics have been driving me insane - both my local A*d* and T*sc* are definitely at it...been meaning to look into reporting them to some sort of high authority...
The most common scams, as already mentioned, are mixing units per 100g/1kg etc. Then there's mixing physical properties g/ml. But what really gets me is mixing net weight and dried weight - I've seen this done with tins of tuna/other canned/jarred foods...there was something else just at the weekend, but I forget in my old age.
People think I'm doing some sort of voodoo magic when I study all the labels, hum and hay for a second before pronouncing 'this one is the cheapest!!'. They look at the main price on the label and think 'no it's not'...'idiots be damned' I say...
p.s. Apologies in advance to all the grammar nazis in this thread.
Supermarkets list different products in g/Kg, lb and catties.
The Imperial pint, please.
Be very careful, if you are Cantonese, not to ask a Thai butcher for a catty of meat!
And the temperature at which it is measured!
@ Steve Davies 3
and the reason these shop assistants use the calculator, is because even though the are capable of working it out, a lot of the customers insist that they cannot possibly have got it right.
You might have your IQ was rising year on year in Europe. But as we all know young folk are getting record exam passes year on year also, proving that in the UK at least, your IQ is falling. Both at the same time, must be a quantum thing :-)
Must be a quantum thing
You can be sure the gubmint will put a Spin on it!
This is not an arithmetic test.
The question quoted is in English, and the survey was carried out in Europe, so it's an English test!
How many people on here know the answer to this question?
"Respondenci byli obok przedstawiony scenariusz, w którym dwa sklepy sprzedawały identyczne telewizory z płaskim ekranem. Powiedziano im, że w sklepie, cena wynosi 500 €, ale 10% zniżki jest oferowany. W sklepie B, cena 400 €. Konsumentom zadano którym telewizja będzie tańsza"
Even though Google translator messed it up awfully. Luckily the language has a very flexible syntax.
Language / arithmetic test
Well I don't speak any Polish, but I'm pretty confident that the answer is still the second one!
I had to think
It actually took me a little while -- not to do the calculation, but to remember both prices. When they are in different shops it often becomes worse, because one might "throw in" an extended guarantee and the other might actually provide batteries for the remote.
But in fact what most people will see is DISCOUNT!!! in big letters, and they have been conditioned that anything with a DISCOUNT is good no matter what the actual price. The same as they have been conditioned that "SAVE 200 POUNDS" (on a 1000 pound sofa they don't need) is actually saving them money rather than costing them 800 pounds.
Re: I had to think...
Why don't you buy an iPad to write it down?
Mine's the one with the pen and paper in the pocket
Discounting the smaller boxes - e.g. the discount only applies to the 2nd biggest Crunchy Nut Cornflakes, so the big packet, with it's claim of 'best value pack' is actually wrong.
"what most people will see is DISCOUNT!!! in big letters"
Online stores such as Amazon seem rather unscrupulous in this regard.
When I purchased a NAS box from them recently, they did not claim that the price I paid included any kind of discount, but a week later they had put the price UP and added the words "10% discount" to the description. It was such a blatant and complete lie, I was shocked, but not enough to actually do anything about it (yeah, I got shit to do, sorry, I can't be writing bitchy letters to everyone - except on here of course wink wink)
Literally every product on there is claiming some sort of discount. I always double check prices at other retailers and about 75% of the time I find that "the discounted rate" is actually "the going rate".
Don't be taken in by what the retailer claims is a discount. It seems that the laws regarding this are weak and/or weakly enforced.
Discount, free gift.....etc
Marketeers are always at it (commercially, I mean!). How often the word "value" or the word "worth" is mis-used.
"You get a free coppleflog value £30 when buying our happlecod at the low price of £250"
"The prize is a holiday for two in the Bernese Alps worth £1500, including air fare and transfers."
Or take the Merkins' woo-woo web sites for "self improvement. "Join today, and get a $300 discount, together with these bonuses free: 'Stop smoking in 4 days' worth $67, "14 days to deep meditation' worth $132..........
The real meaning of "value" or "worth" in all marketing-speak is "priced at" or "arbitrarily fixed at" or "figure picked at random out of the air.
People still fall for it, though.
Novel use for an iPad
To use as a backing when writing on paper with a pencil!
Make Darts compulsory
Darts (501, double for out) should be a compulsory subject. Mental arithmetic is never an issue with darts, although the growth of beer guts may be a problem.
Working out a 161 checkout is a lot easier than doing it though
Also betting on the gee-gees!
"survey of 56,471 people across 29 countries"
So an online survey then. In which case at least 10% of the responses - and probably a lot more - are garbage,
Re: Online survey?...
Yes, that's 1,947.28 people per country.
If 20% got it wrong
If 20% got the TV question wrong, then it is likely that another 20% managed to pick the right answer at random without actually knowing that 10% off €500 is €450 and that €450 > €400.
Its worse than claimed
jonathanb is headed down the right path. If 1 out of 5 gave the wrong answer then in all likelihood 2 out of 5 (40%) didn't know the answer and guessed. With two choices half got it right.
So its really 2 out of 5 who can not solve the problem presented.
In other words..
>Yet the survey of 56,471 people across 29 countries, found that fewer than half of EU consumers felt "confident, knowledgeable and protected as consumers".
Or to put it another way: More than half of EU customers know how the real world operates and aren't fooled by the vacuous self-serving promises of the legislature and their mates in the corporate world.
The way I got good at %ges..
..was playing Eve-online. When a week's work can be lost by not understanding '3% increase in resistence to kinetic damage' on a shield or you fail to destroy someone else' week's work because '2.5% reduction in tracking speed' confused you - that's when you brush up your math skills.
Example stats for a ship:
For a tracking mod:
In some ways it's encouraging that so many 'yoof's can put in so much effort and get to grips with that much complexity. On the down side I wonder how they find the time - some of them put in twelve or fourteen hour days.
I hung in there for a few years but eventually I couldn't take it any more. It started to turn into a second job and since I wasn't getting paid to play I gave it up.
A trick question
The punters are right to be flummoxed. In a real shop the information given is designed to fuddle not inform. The real tickets would read:
"€500 - Up to 25% off"
Obviously the question is a trick one.
I went in Carphone Warehouse to buy a T-mobile PAYG phone. All the prices were "from", there was no mention of operators and no mention of how to get the "from" price. I walked out without a word and without a phone. It is not as though you have to go far to find another phone shop.
Depending on the phone you could have perhaps 4 carriers offering contracts. Each carrier may have 10 contracts (+ their variations) for each phone. I dont think tomes of information would help you in any case.
You could have "asked". A novel concept in a shop I know but if you wanted to examine the nitty gritty then look on the internet page.
It didn't used to be like that
Once you have narrowed it down to PAYG by going to that section, there is only the choice of carrier. Why should I have to ask when I am quite capable of reading for myself? The great feature of Carphone Warehouse is that you don't get jumped upon by a sales droid as soon as you enter the door. Having to ask rather defeats their unique selling point. If the amount of information has really become too much to display in print, how am I expected to make a rational decision? I went into the shop to buy a phone - not to be sold one. </rant>