There’s a rather interesting story in the news about a school employee who stole some money over the course of seven years. Over that period she managed to steal an estimated $3 million by putting money in her bra as she was leaving school grounds.

The money came from students who paid cash for lunches over the course of the day. The employee was in charge of accounting for this money.

What I find interesting is that my first reaction, and that of most the people making comments, was that this was a huge amount of money to steal in seven years. That she must have had some specially made bra into which to stuff the huge wads of bills. Is that what you thought?

I heard the story as I was pulling up to pick up my dinner from a local grocery store and sat in my car for a few minutes before it occurred to me that maybe it wasn’t all that much to money to stuff into a bra after all. My math skills being deficient I waited until I returned home to perform the calculations.

The first order of business was to determine how many days are in a school year. It turns out there are about 180 on average so I went with that figure. So, let’s work it out.

The number of years = 7

The number of days = 180

The total amount = 3,000,000

The unknown amount is how much was stolen each day (x).

The equation: 7 * 180 * x = 3,000,000

7 * 180 = 1,260.

So now we have 1260 * x = 3,000,000. We move the 1260 to the other side of the equation and end up with this.

x = 3,000,000/1260.

The result is $2,380 per day.

Not so bad and it’s probably a good thing to get my algebra brain working again after all these years.

Now, let’s say it’s mostly $20 dollar bills, so that’s fairly simple. 2,380/20 = 119 bills stuffed into her bra on a daily average.

Our math isn’t done yet because I need to know how thick is a pile of 119 bills. Yes, I have a sickness, I admit it.

The US Treasury says that a dollar bill is .0043 inches tall.

Now we take 119 * .0043 and end up with .511 inches. Half an inch of bills every school day for seven years and we’ve got our answer! It can be done and without that much trouble.

Isn’t math great!

So, I was wrong and so were most of the people who made comments on the story.

Now, tell me the truth, when you first heard the story did you think, like me, it sounded impossible?

Tom Liberman

Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology

Current Release: The Sword of Water ($2.99 for a full length eBook)

Next Release: The Spear of the Hunt

Nice post Tom. Now to figure out what bra size she was wearing…

Maybe I should hire you to tutor my boys in high school. I have a feeling they’d be interested in math with this analogy. But they’re too young right now!

Thank you, Dora.

My math skills are not so great but maybe I would have found school more interesting if word problems like this were the norm!

I have no doubt your boys will far eclipse my skills within a few years. I stopped being able to help my nieces somewhere around 6th grade!

Tom

You do have a sickness. Lol. Now I want to get 119 bills to stick in my bra and see if I look lumpy.

Thank you … I think … for the comment, Lisa! 🙂

I know, once something gets in my brain I can’t let go. It’s not always such a good quality.

Come back any time!

Tom