Since the beginning of the High School Studies Program,
the children and I have come to Logo to use the system from
8 to 10 am. One consequence is that we occasionally skip
breakfast. Even when we do not, the children have become
accustomed to mid-morning snacks. The favorite: apple pie
and milk.

At their young age, Robby and Miriam get money from me,
and we talk about how they spend it. A piece of pie costs
59¢. A half pint of milk is 32¢. So Miriam told me this
morning, and these figures are familiar. After her adding
(cf. Vignette 54) 28 and 48, as we got her snack I asked her
how much we would have to pay the cashier. After a few mis-
calculations, she came to a sum of 91¢ and seemed confident
it was correct. I congratulated her on a correct sum and
asked the cashier to ring up our tab. 92 cents!

92 cents? I asked the cashier to explain. She said the
pie is 55¢ and the milk, 30¢ thus 85¢ and the tax 7¢. “See.
Look at the table.”

I am at a complete loss as to how to explain this to
Miriam. Not only is the 8 per cent food tax dreadful in it-
self, it is rendering incomprehensible a primary domain of
arithmetic that children regularly confront — paying small
amounts of money for junk food.

Relevance
This incident clarifies Miriam’s comment in Vignette 54
wherein “the tax” appears to be the difference between what is
a reasonable computation and what you actually have to pay