Monday, March 30, 2009


I just love the way some people write checks. As a CSM for a frozen food company, I see a lot of these. The "Pay to the order of" line, the date line, and the signature line are good. But, when it comes to the dollar amount, some things are just not right.

The little box where you write the numeric amount in dollars and cents often gets confused with dollars and a fraction. For example, if you mean $42.25, the number in that little rectangular box should be 42.25, not 42 25/100 or 42 25/xx. Speaking of which, what the hell kind of denominator is "xx"?

Then there's the legal line - where you have to write the dollar amount in words, you know...

__________________________ DOLLARS

I get a charge out of seeing a legal line looking like this:
Forty-two dollars and 25/100______DOLLARS
Forty-two dollars and 25/XX______DOLLARS

Notice how the word "dollars" is used twice. You don't need to write the word "dollars". It's already written for you. Or, how about this:

Forty-two dollars and twenty-five cents___DOLLARS

HUH???!!! That has about as much intelligence as trying to write a hymn with a three-syllable "stumblings" (cf. "Ashes"). The proper way is this:

Forty-two and 25/100___________DOLLARS

On a lighter side, I've always had the temptation to reduce a fraction like 25/100 to lowest terms.

Forty-two and 1/4____________DOLLARS

If I was to cash a check like that, would someone be smart enough to give you the quarter, or would they be dumb enough to take an extra dollar bill and rip that into quarters and give you one?

UPDATE 4/1/09: Chris C. left a link in the combox to this check that was made payable to Verizon...

This is even better than what I was thinking at one point - use variables ($x+3=15 - solve for x).



M.A. Schmitz said...

It's even more fun to write checks in scientific notation!


M.A. Schmitz said...

Or, to do it correctly:

'Four point two two five' times ten to the first power___DOLLARS

Jeff Pinyan (japhy) said...

I use /00 as my denominator (like that old percent symbol which had two zeroes on the bottom: ‰).

Forty-two and 25/00

Chris C. said...

I've always wanted to reduce the fractions but I've never done so out of fear of the check being returned.

There are other ways to get creative with math, though:

(there's a story behind this, about Verizon customer service not knowing the difference between fractional dollars and fractional cents)

RC said...

That check to VZN works out to just 2/10 cent, 'cause

e^(pi*i) = -1


sum(n=1 to inf, (1/(2^n))) = 1

There. That degree in math was worth something after all.