The Tipping Racket

Employees in some jobs do not get tips. Others get just a bit. Some get considerable tips.

I am now working as a gas jockey. I get the occasional tip (maybe one per day). Usually, it is about two dollars.

Why is it that waiters/waitresses get so much in tips? Why is it that I can not go to a restaurant without a guilt trip of having to pay more than the bill? If I went to a hardware store to buy a piece of equipment and got help selecting the best model for my needs, I would not have to tip.

It does seem like a racket, and especially when you consider that charge card forms for restaurants have room for a tip amount. It sure does not happen at a gas station or hardware store!

In Japan, I understand that tipping is frowned up and may even be viewed as an insult. When I was in China, I was treated to a nice restaurant meal. The food was great, and possibly even better was that there was no tipping!

I tend to not go out for meals where I have to tip. I do not care for the guilt-tripping.

I think it would be much fairer for restaurants to pay their staff a decent wage and not push customers to tip.

Odd Language #287: Extra Comma

From a previous version of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxicab_geometry: “A taxicab geometry, is a form of geometry in which the usual distance function or metric of Euclidean geometry is replaced by a new metric in which the distance between two points is the sum of the absolute differences of their Cartesian coordinates.”

The issue: The comma is extraneious. Some people do not get commas. Just because a sentence is long does not mean that it needs a comma. Commas are not just for inserting vocal pauses.

Puzzle #290: Taxicab Geometry 3

In taxicab geometry, a circle looks like a diamond (a square turned 45 degrees), and its circumference is eight times its radius. (Have a look at the Wikipedia article.) How about area? It does not appear to be defined, but let us try defining something similar.

What if we draw a circle on a grid, centering the circle on (0, 0) with the circle having an integer radius? We could consider the area to be the number of integer co-ordinates contained within or on the circle. (This would be the number of block intersections within or on a circle that a taxicab can get to.)

With this, if the radius is 0, the area is 1! If 1, then 5. If 2, then 13. What are the answers for 3, 4, and 5?

Submit your answer to Gene Wirchenko <genew@telus.net>. Your answer should be in the form of a proof. That means to show how your answer must be correct. The deadline is Wednesday, December 26, 2018 at noon Pacific Time. I will post the answer shortly after.

Puzzle #288 Solution: Taxicab Geometry 2

Spoiler Inside: Solution to Puzzle SelectShow

Puzzle #289: Divisibility Puzzle

Consider the nine-digit numbers that have one each of the digits from 1 to 9. Some of these numbers have the following property: each of the numbers formed by taking the first n digits (from 1 to 9) in the same order are evenly divisible by the number of digits each has. (Example: the number formed from the first five digits is evenly divisible by 5, and the number formed from the first seven digits is evenly divisible by 7.) What are the solutions?

This is a neat problem. The answer is {381654729}. You are welcome.

The actual problem: the same as above, but four-digit numbers that have one each of the digits from 1 to 4, and the same divisiblity rule setup. What are the solutions?

Submit your answer to Gene Wirchenko <genew@telus.net>. Your answer should be in the form of a proof. That means to show how your answer must be correct. The deadline is Wednesday, December 19, 2018 at noon Pacific Time. I will post the answer shortly after.

Two Ways of Marketing

Earlier this month, Blizzard Entertainment made a horrible error when announcing a new product. They announced that the next release of Diablo would be on mobile. They did this to an audience largely composed of their core market which is pc gamers (who also paid to attend).

The last major release of Diablo was over six years ago. That is rather a long time to wait. Frustration and disappointment are understandable.

Oddly enough, much of the gaming media is against gamers. Statements that these gamers are entitled are all-too-common. They also miss the mark.

Let us consider an example with another company that has an established market: Porsche. (I have no connection with Porsche and have no idea what Porsche has planned. This is just an example.)

Suppose that Porsche were to announce that their next vehicle would be an econobox van. Do you think that their loyal customers might be disappointed or just plain outraged? That is how long-time Diablo players feel.

It is not that the pc gamers hate mobile games; it is that they expected and want a pc game. Are they entitled?

Well, a bit. Blizzard has a reputation for producing certain types of games. Porsche has a reputation for producing certain types of games.

Blizzard could have announced the release of the mobile game and also the timeline for the next pc version of Diablo. In my example, Porsche would have been better off also covering next year’s sports car model.

As I see it, there are two ways to market.

One is to manage expectations. Your company produces certain types of products and makes announcements of what is going to happen for the next generation. Fans of your products know what to expect. They might pre-order your next product based on your reputation.

The other way is to take the business as it comes.

Which way do you think a competent marketing executive prefers? The first, obviously.

I think that Blizzard has forgotten who their customers are. Unfortunately, they do not seem to be remembering.