Solve this math problem and we will send you one of our car ribbon magnets for being one sharp cookie.


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Everybody likes a challenge, right? This math problem will not only test your reading ability but your deduction skills as well.

Three salesmen had arrived at the same time at the only motel in town with a vacancy. The motel had only one room vacant but the men, all road weary from driving long distances, decided to share the room and split the cost.

"How much for the room?" they asked.

"Thirty dollars" replied the clerk. (I know what you are thinking - $30 for a room, give me a break - think of it as a small room in a small town. <g>)

Each salesman handed the clerk $10 (3 X $10 = $30) and they went to the room.

After the men left the lobby, the clerk rechecked the room rate and discovered it was only $25 and not the $30 she had charged the men.

Not knowing how to divide the $5 overcharge, she decided to give each man $1 and pocket the remaining $2 ( 3 x $1 = $3 + $2 = $5).

Each guest had now paid $9 ( $10 - $1 =$9) for the room making the total paid $27 (3 x $9 = $27). The clerk had pocketed $2 bringing the total to $29 ($27 +$2 = $29) leaving $1 unaccounted for ($30 - $29 = $1).

Those are the circumstances. The problem lies in the unaccounted for $1. Where did it go?

There is one, and only one, answer to this math problem. To help you solve it, here are some hints.

1. The $1 was not charged as any sort of tax

2. The clerk pocketed $2 and not $3

3. The men received $1 each and not $1.33

4. The $1 was not spent in the vending machine or at the bar

5. She was the only clerk on duty when the men arrived

6. She did not lose the $1

7. She did not give the $1 to a friend or anyone else

8. This problem is not about how much each man paid

9. The dollar was not put back into the register


If you think you know the answer and would like one of our car ribbon magnets, please submit your answer to: The ribbon normally sells for $5.

Submission guidelines:

Send submissions to the above email address only.

The subject should read: Math Problem. Anything else will be deleted.

Include your snail mail address so the ribbon can be mailed to you if you have the correct answer. If you do not include your snail mail address, you will NOT receive a ribbon. 

All submissions with the incorrect answer will receive a reply email so advising and then be deleted. We have no interest in acquiring your snail mail address.

ONLY ONE ribbon per winner. Please do not send multiple submissions.

We keep all winning submissions on file for one year. This helps both of us keep out of trouble.

By the way, if you feel so inclined and would like to make a donation to S2S, please click on one of the above ribbon links and purchase a ribbon or three. This, to date, has been our only fund raiser and all the proceeds go to Senior programs.


There will be peace when the Power of Love overcomes the Love of Power.



Senior Outreach Ministries  P.O. Box 1234 Reno, NV 89504 2004©All Rights Reserved