Neat Trick!! (Waiters Know All) – or – Help Your Kids Practice Math

By , May 3, 2007 6:38 pm

I just received a really cool email that seems to be making the rounds. I usually delete most of these circulating emails, but this one is very clever!

If you are up for a little easy math, give it a try. If your kids are old enough to do this math, have them do the calculations.

Unless you are a mathematician and can easily see some obvious (to you!) formula involved, I guarantee you will be astonished!!

IMPORTANT: DON’T CHEAT BY SCROLLING DOWN FIRST! I know, now that I have said this, everyone will WANT to scroll down, but it will diminish the surprise, so try and have a little will-power please!

It takes less than a minute.
Work this out as you read …
Be sure you don’t read the bottom until you’ve worked it out!

Here goes:

1. First of all, pick the number of times a week that you would like to go out to eat. (more than once but less than 10)

2. Multiply this number by 2 (just to be bold)

3. Add 5

4. Multiply it by 50

5. If you have already had your birthday this year add 1757
If you haven’t, add 1756.

6. Now subtract the four digit year that you were born.

You should have a three digit number


The first digit of this was your original number
(ie. how many times you want to go out to restaurants in a week.)

The next two numbers are:

YOUR AGE! (Oh YES, it is!!!!!)

According to the email, this is the only year (2007) that it will ever work. Any math wizards out there who would care to comment / explain this?

UPDATE (May 5): SOLVED!!! By wizard whymommy of Toddler Planet! Thank you so much whymommy! Please see her comment to this post for the full explanation!

Thanks to and photographer Dave Wicks for this fun photo (visit his site:

4 Responses to “Neat Trick!! (Waiters Know All) – or – Help Your Kids Practice Math”

  1. Obsidian Kitten says:

    that’s w-e-i-r-d !

  2. whymommy says:

    Actually, it’s just algebra.

    Remember how we used to take a word problem and put it into equation form? The equation for this one (if you’ve had your birthday already this year) is

    x = (2n+5)*50 + 1757 – (2007 – age)

    which simplifies to

    x = 100n + 250 + (1757 – 2007) + age

    which becomes

    x = 100n + 250 – 250 + age

    which of course is

    x = 100n + age

    So, of course, the first digit (hundreds place) is your chosen number (in this case, the number of times you go out to eat a week), and the second two digits are your age.

    Assuming of course that you’re under 100 years old.

    The statement at the end is funny to me — yes, this only works this year — but next year, you can send the exact same email if you replace the number “1757” with “1758” (and 1756 with 1757 for those who haven’t yet had their birthdays.

    Algebra DOES come in handy some days!

  3. Mom Unplugged says:


    Thanks so much whymommy! I knew there had to be an easy explanation for this and now that you express it like that, it finally makes sense (although I haven’t done algebra in years). I’ll have to sit down and work it through myself on paper when I have a chance.

    I just love the internet! I knew that someone out there could enlighten me. Thanks again!

    -Mom Unplugged

  4. whymommy says:

    My pleasure.

    Now if only I could figure out how to clean my toaster well enough to get rid of all the crumbs ….

    (Non sequitur, but I’m taking a break from cleaning the kitchen, and this always irritates me.)

    Any ideas?

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