In Britain, post-Christmas shopping causes a frenzy like the one on our Black Friday. Yet when British customers hit the stores this week, they got a form of help (as yet) unheard of here: Teams of government workers were sent to show consumers how to do bargain-hunting math. A Dec. 27 Reuters report says that Britain's Department of Education and Skills assembled the helpers because 14.9 million U.K. adults may not be numerate enough to figure out the price of an item marked 20% off. In busy shopping areas, the government is also providing 200,000 sales calculators--to help citizens plumb the mysteries of pitches like "buy one, get one half price."
So Socialized edumacation is a failure, enough of a failure that basic math passes folks by. Two, Tony Blair's Nanny State steps in so people should be kept from puzzling it out on their own. Three, stores in Britain can't seem to figure out what the outlet malls and grocery stores have, here in the US: a discount conversion sign on clothing racks or shelf tags showing the old and discounted prices with percent saved.