School's in session; time for a pop quiz

Posted: Sunday, September 12, 2010

This Thursday school district Superintendent Steve Atwater is inviting local business leaders for a "school/business summit" to promote discussion about what our students are learning, what they aren't learning and what they need to learn.

The summit comes in conjunction with an online business survey the school district asked business leaders to participate in. The results of the survey will shape the discussion.

We're all familiar with the seemingly constant lament from businesses about what our youth don't know, how they aren't prepared. We berate the schools with the generalization: "They aren't teaching kids anything."

Well, we say, why depend solely on the classroom? Why is anyone hiring these people without knowing what they're getting?

Here's our challenge. We've put together this little quiz and suggest you give this to your applicants the next time you're hiring. In fact, take the quiz yourself, then gauge your applicants' results against your own. Using a calculator is your choice. If you like, you can also take the quiz online at

Good luck.

1) The cost of one pound of plums is $1.34. How much will 3 pounds of plums cost?

    a) $4.00

    b) $5.12

    c) $4.02

    d) $4.03

2) The cost of 3 yards of a cloth is $18.54. Find the cost of 2 feet of the same cloth.

    a) $2.06

    b) $4.12

    c) $5.12

    d) $4.90

3) You are hired to deliver bushels of corn to a local grocery store. You get paid $4.50 for every bushel that you deliver. At the end of the day, you have been paid $76.50. How many bushels of corn did you deliver?

    a) 5

    b) 8

    c) 17

    d) 72

4) You are stocking shelves like your boss ordered when a customer asks you where to find a particular item. You should:        a) Finish stocking the shelves first.

    b) Tell the customer you need to finish stocking the shelves first.

    c) Stop stocking the shelf and help the customer.

    d) Ask your boss what to do.

5) You work in a home improvement store. A customer purchased 4 bags of topsoil at $3.95 each and 1 garden hoe for $22.50. The customer gave you $40.00 to pay for her purchases. How much change should you give back?

    a) $1.70

    b) $3.95

    c) $15.80

    d) $26.45

6) What do you do if you are helping a customer in the store and the phone rings?

    a) Don't answer the phone.

    b) Put caller on hold until sale is completed.

7) The electronics store where you work is advertising a certain model of television set on sale for $210. A customer purchased a television set that was originally priced at $240. What percent discount did the customer receive on the television set?

    a) 2.1%

    b) 12.5%

    c) 30%

    d) 50%

8) A customer has waited in line a long time (for whatever reason) and is obviously agitated when it's her turn. What do you say?

    a) I'm sorry about the long wait. How can I help you?

    b) Jeez, some people!

9) At the hardware store where you work, nails and screws must be separated into bins. You are given a box that contains a total of 150 nails and screws. There are 50 nails in the box. What is the ratio of nails to screws in the box?

    a) 1:2

    b) 2:1

    c) 3:1

    d) 3:2

10) You work at a grocery store. Three pounds of apples cost $3.90. A customer wishes to buy 2 pounds of apples. What should you charge the customer, not including tax?

    a) $2.60

    b) $3.92

    c) $7.80

    d) $11.70

11) A customer wants a product you don't have or service you don't provide. What do you say?

    a) We don't have that.

    b) I'm sorry, we don't have that. Would this other item work for you?

12) You sell oranges at a fruit stand. The cost for 5 oranges is $3. A group of 10 students wants to buy enough oranges so that they can each have 2. How much should you charge the group of students?

    a) $3

    b) $12

    c) $15

    d) $20

Extra credit

A customer buys a pack of gum for 75 cents. He gives you a $10 bill.

You hand back the change. The customer says, "I really didn't want all this change, and I'm sure you could use it more than I could." He offers to give you ten $1 bills and asks for his original $10 bill.

You hand the customer the $10 bill and take the cash he hands you. You count it into the cash drawer you discover he actually handed you nine $1 bills and a $10 bill, for a total of $19.

You point out the error. The customer apologizes and offers you another $1 bill and asks for a $20 bill instead. You oblige, and the customer says, "Thanks, have a nice day."

What just went wrong?

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