I don’t know how to introduce this video “Verizon Math Fail” (embedded below) blog. It’s been around for a while, so you may have heard about it or seen it.
The piece is less than three minutes long and is full audio, so it should load very quickly in your browser. Give it a listen.
Think about this for a second. We’ve stumbled upon some innumeracy that rises to the institutional level. Two people at this customer service center can’t wrap their heads around this problem. And, according to the blog, Verizon continues to misrepresent the cost of the service that is causing this problem. If this is true, can you imaging how many people had to sign off on the mistake? It boggles the mind.
I like to point out to people that rarely will someone say to a total stranger, “I suck at reading and writings” but often people don’t think twice about saying, “I’m bad at math.” This says something about our society, doesn’t it. If it’s true that America’s economic competitiveness rests in part on having a scientifically and mathematically literate (if not sophisticated) workforce, than we need to be afraid.
For more discourse on the topic of numeracy and innumeracy, check out these books by John Allen Paulos:
- Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences (link to Amazon.com)
- Beyond Numeracy (link to Amazon.com)
Both are interesting reads for anyone.
Disclaimer: I recommend these books because I’ve read them and they had an impact on me. My interest in recommending these or other items is not financial. It stems from my desire to draw more people into the study of science and mathematics.