Help me with the math please…

I need someone to help me with the math on this one.  A server at Santa Lucia failed an alcohol compliance test and the owner is frustrated because the class offered by the Fargo Cass Public Health for servers does not teach them how to use calculators to figure out if a patron is over 21.  There seems to be a debate as to whether the server that failed the test actually attended this training.

But here is my question – why can’t they just add 21 to the birth year?  Do they really need a calculator for that?  The server in question served someone whose identification indicated she was born in February 1993 (the compliance check happened in 2013).  I do not understand where the difficulty lies in this evaluation.  You add 21years to the birth year, look at the current month and day, and they are either legal or not.  If you add 21 to 1993 you can easily determine that age 21 will occur on the birth date in 2014.

Now, if the math is too difficult for servers to do in their head in the moment, why wouldn’t you provide them with a simple cheat sheet? Something as simple as the table below would work.  Servers could tape it to the back of their order pads.

Birth year         21st year
1998 ————2019
1997 ————2018
1996 ————2017
1995 ————2016
1994 ————2015
1993 ————2014
1992 ————2013
1991 ————2012

I am far from a rocket scientist and math is not my strongest subject, but come on – this cannot be that difficult when you have a birth date in front of you.  I do not think that it is unreasonable to think that servers should be able to add 21 to a birth year to determine if someone is old enough to be served alcohol.  Forget the calculators and calculator training.  Servers who struggle with this should either improve their addition skills or create a cheat sheet to help themselves with the task.  Indeed, they can copy the one in this blog.

As for all of those born in the decades prior to the 90s – just thank your lucky stars if a server wants to look at your identification at all when you order alcohol.  These days the only age identification I am moving toward is the senior menu and I would love to be carded for that one.  Go ahead – assume I am too young for that – card me – PLEASE. ;-)

Day one thousand three hundred and nine of the new forty – obla di obla da

Ms. C

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About Ms. C

I teach at NDSU...but I remain a student of life with all the enthusiasm that entails. My favorite saying is, "Sometimes you have to take the leap and build your wings on the way down." In the new forty that is what I am doing...building my wings.
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6 Responses to Help me with the math please…

  1. Kathleen says:

    You present a nice, efficient solution. It amazing how often those are overlooked.

  2. tim haering says:

    Right, quite right, you’re bloody well right, you know you got a right to say it. All the can’t-add people, where do they all come from? Maybe Jethro BOdine can help them after he finishes practicing his “gazintas.”

  3. Miki Tanner-Bendickson says:

    My question is: can’t the owner take some responsibility and teach them to use a calculator herself? Duh.

  4. Jackie says:

    Why didn’t they use one of those daily calendars that says something like “you are legal to drink if you were born on this date or later”? They used to use them a lot back when Minnesota had 18 yr old drinking. (I’m showing my age). I have also seen them for being legal to buy cigarettes.

  5. Laurie dietz says:

    I couldn’t believe it when I read the story. I think the owner was quoted as saying that she couldn’t believe they got it wrong – they’re engineering students!
    Scary! But I think she barked up the wrong tree thinking that the server training was at fault for their ineptness!

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