Real Life Maths–exactly how much do those chips cost?

How would you write three pounds and fifty pence in figures?

When walking through central London at the weekend, I noticed something slightly unusual about the menu pinned up outside the Golden Fleece pub:

Menu at the Golden Fleece

I thought it was odd, but assumed it was a one-off. Then I spotted the same thing on the menu in another pub, the Founders Arms:

Menu at the Founders Arms

I confess I am a bit baffled by this. For years I have been insisting that my students give money answers to two decimal places. Admittedly there are a few cases where two decimal places may not be appropriate, for example the price of petrol in the UK is always given to 3 d.p. but the final price that you pay would still always be rounded to 2 d.p. Surely that should be the case here, these are prices, in context – so 2d.p would be expected.

I don’t know why these pubs are presenting their prices in this way. Is it a fad? A new trend? Hopefully it’s not an attempt to mislead.

I do know that I will be including these images in my lessons in future. £3.5 may be a non-standard way of writing three pounds and fifty pence, but it’s one that any student with a good understanding of place value should be able to interpret.

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+ 68 = 75