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Missing Dollar

There are variations of the "missing dollar" riddle. The one I heard about 15 years ago (from a Clevelander named Randy) went like this:

3 guys get a hotel room, pay $10 each, total cost = $30.

The manager decides to refund $5, gives the $5 to the bellboy to return to the guests. 

The bellboy decides to keep $2 for each guest back $1.00


Each man paid $10, then was each refunded $1, meaning they paid $9 per person.
$9 times 3 guys = $27 + the $2 the bellboy kept equals $29. ...where did the missing dollar go???


It's a misdirection...the ONLY reason the guys paid $27 is because the bellboy kept $2 for himself. (You don't "add" $2 to the $27 to balance the equation.) 

The real breakdown goes like this:

$30 minus $5 refund = $25 total cost to the guests. The bellboy takes $2 for himself = $27 total cost to the guests (or $9 each) Add the $3 that was refunded to the guests and all $30 is accounted for...nothing is missing.


By the way, Randy (just slightly inebriated at the time)  refused to listen to a word of it. "OH YA, RIGHT! Youuuu figured it's a mathematical mystery dude...the dollar is gone man, it's gone!!!"


--Such is the fun of getting into an argument with a guy at a bar when you’re not drinking and he is. :-)


Joe Plummer 1.14.2009
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