My first and shortest response to W. Curt Vincent’s column (“Brains are better than microchips,: Aug. 11) is “Amen Brother!”
American society has definitely become too dependent upon Smartphones and computers. You gave good examples of some people being unable to perform basic or slightly above basic math. To me it boils down to not having a good backup plan. We keep flashlights with extra batteries in our homes for when the power goes out, but most of us also keep candles and matches in case we neglected to buy extra batteries for the dying flashlight.
The microchips in phones and computers do a usually great job of taking care of many of our brain functions…until the phones and computers cease to work. The knowledge of and occasional practice in basic math skills could and should be a backup at such times.
Someone recently asked me how much less a sale item would be since it was 20 percent off. In my oldish head I was able to round off the regular price and then divide it by five (because there are five 20s in 100). I then only had to subtract the result of the calculation from the regular price to get an approximate sales price. This example could be simplified — sorry about that.
I do realize both customer service persons were caught off guard by the situations, but if one has a Dollar General calculator or pen and paper nearby at such times the problem can be resolved. Management should make such items readily available.
However “the problem can be resolved” only if the person in need has been taught and has practiced such math skills.