Sunday, 24 July 2011

Double Dutch with a Dutchman, or The Mystery of the Missing Euro.

Luncheon of the Boating Party
by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Travelling once on a train from Rotterdam to Amsterdam I recounted the following riddle to a Dutchman….

Three men have a meal in a restaurant (more of a snack, actually, a cheese sandwich and a milk shake) and the bill comes to 30 euros. Each man gives the waiter 10 euros and the waiter takes the money to the head waiter. But the head waiter notices that the bill should only be 25 euros. So he gives the waiter back 5 euros and tells him to return the money to the men. But on his way to the table the waiter thinks to himself: “Hang fire a minute. They don’t know that the bill was only 25 euros. I think I’ll just give them back 3 euros and keep 2 euros for myself”. So he slips 2 euros into his back pocket and gives 3 euros back to the men, 1 euro to each. Therefore…

Question: How much did each man pay for his meal?
Answer: 9 euros.
Question: 3 times 9 euros equals…?
Answer: 27 euros.
Question: How much did waiter slip into his back pocket?
Answer: 2 euros.
Question: 27 euros plus 2 euros equals…?
Answer: 29 euros.
Question: But the men gave the waiter 30 euros. So where’s the other euro?

The Dutchman thought about it for several moments and then said: “I give up. Where is this other bloody euro?”
I smiled an inscrutable English smile (forget the Chinese, if it’s inscrutable you want there’s no one to touch the English) and left him to ponder The Mystery of the Missing Euro.

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