Monday, August 1, 2011

Solution to Contest #9

This is a two-step problem as the price of the dress is discounted twice.

Sara is an assistant manager in a clothing store. Her boss told her it is time to unload last year's fashions. He told her to reduce prices of all clothes by 25%.
One red dress normally sells for $299.00.

The first discount is calculated as:

Discounted price = $299.00 x (1 - 0.25) = $224.25

It did not sell. So the boss told Sara to reduce the discounted price by 25%. What is the sale price of this dress?

The key word is "discounted." This tells us the reference for the second discount is based on the discounted price, not the original price.

Second discounted price = $224.25 x (1 - 0.25) = $168.18.

If the second discount had been stated as "So the boss told Sara to reduce the price by 25%," it would have been unclear whether the discount was to be applied to the original price (which would have given us $149.50 as the correct answer) or the discounted price. Even native speakers would be divided as to how to correctly translate this English phrase into math. Sometimes it is best to ask questions when then the "numbers English" seems a little too complicated.

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