March 18, 2008

Bagels Riddle

Here's a riddle of sorts. There's a story I think Maggie is going to post on her blog. But before she does, I wanted to pose this riddle and see what you come up with.

Maggie is trying to buy poppy seed bagels. She pays for 4 bagels and leaves the shop with the bag. When she gets home, she realizes she has been given 5 poppy seed bagels, even though she has been charged for 4. This upsets her. Why?

Feel free to make guesses. I'll also answer yes-or-no questions.

[ UPDATE: Maggie has posted the story on her blog. For those who want to skip to the answer. ]

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Posted by James at March 18, 2008 9:56 AM
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I can not imagine.

This has the unpleasant ring of a math word problem--I was never good at those.

Maggie pays for 4 bagels. When she gets home, she finds she has 5 bagels. What time will the train arrive in Cleveland?

Posted by: Patti M. at March 18, 2008 10:12 AM

The bag was only meant to hold four bagels so they were all squooshed?

Posted by: Mike at March 18, 2008 10:17 AM

I'll add a bit of information -- I brought them back, but I couldn't do it until the next day.

Posted by: Maggie at March 18, 2008 10:44 AM

You're supposed to let people ask yes or no questions!

Posted by: James at March 18, 2008 11:04 AM

Guess 1: It meant that someone else paid for 5 but only got four.

Guess 2: They gave her too many bagels because they were old bagels that they were trying to get rid of, and Maggie wanted FRESH bagels.

Posted by: Julie at March 18, 2008 11:12 AM

You knew that consuming four poppy seed bagels would be fine but five would push you over the limit and make you fail random drug tests.

Posted by: Mike at March 18, 2008 11:14 AM

Very good guesses, Julie! You've obviously been an attentive customer. But not quite.

1) She did get the bag which was intended for her.
2) They were all reasonably fresh bagels.

Posted by: James at March 18, 2008 11:15 AM

My initial guess is that - like Julie said - they didn't give her the bagels she wanted. Like day-olds or smaller bagels or something odd like that.

My second guess is that she doesn't want to have to deal with people fighting over the last bagel.

Posted by: David Grenier at March 18, 2008 11:16 AM

1. There was a buy-5-get-1-free offer that she would have taken advantage of.

2. She can't bear the thought that the bakery lost $0.65.

3. She was on her way somewhere to share the bagels with 3 other people and didn't want to have one left over to schlep around the rest of the day.

Posted by: Karen at March 18, 2008 11:50 AM

I knew you guys would come up with some creative answers!

- The situation would not have been remedied by Maggie paying for the extra bagel
- Maggie was upset because she didn't want to give any of the bagels to our daughter for lunch, and it was the number of bagels (in part) that caused this concern.
- She had to wait until the next day to return and have the situation remedied.

Posted by: James at March 18, 2008 12:03 PM

All 5 bagels were "defective" in some way. Moldy perhaps?

Posted by: B.O.B. (bob) at March 18, 2008 12:12 PM

Aha!

- All 5 bagels were definitely not defective.
- Nothing about the appearance of the bagels caused distress. But the number of them did.

I may be wrong, but I don't think anyone's going to guess this outright, because something is missing. Feel free to ask questions about the missing information.

Posted by: James at March 18, 2008 12:37 PM

She required four bagels for a Girl Scouts project she was going to work on and didn't want to have to ingest the carbs of the extra bagel to achieve the desired/required number of bagels.

Posted by: Patti M. at March 18, 2008 12:44 PM

they put cream cheese on the bagels, and your daughter can't eat cream cheese.

Posted by: wormie at March 18, 2008 12:52 PM

- There was no cream cheese.

Posted by: James at March 18, 2008 12:54 PM

Hrm. The number of bagels was significant, but she had to return to the store to remedy the situation. That suggests to me that it is not a function of the number of people. If it were, she could just not use the other bagel and save it for another occasion. So, why would having 5 bagels be so bad that she had to return to the store?

My Yes/No questions:

1. Did the problem arise from a correlation between the number of people and the number of bagels?

2. Was the lunch just for 1 child?

Posted by: briwei at March 18, 2008 1:52 PM

Are there any dietary concerns involved (e.g., allergies)?

Posted by: Karen at March 18, 2008 2:00 PM

Did the problem arise from a correlation between the number of people and the number of bagels?

No.

Was the lunch just for 1 child?

Yes. She was buying bagels so she could put 1 bagel in M's lunch each day.

Are there any dietary concerns involved (e.g., allergies)?

No.

Posted by: James at March 18, 2008 2:04 PM

Were the bagels bought on the second day of the week?

(There would be one more bagel than the days of the week the child would take a lunch to school [no school on Saturday].)

Posted by: Patti M. at March 18, 2008 2:14 PM

Were the bagels bought on the second day of the week?

No, they were bought on Sunday evening to prepare for the week.

Which reveals another odd fact, which I won't make you ask about. When Maggie left the house to buy bagels, she left intending to buy 5. But she bought 4, and then was upset that she had 5 when she got home.

Posted by: James at March 18, 2008 2:20 PM

Would she have needed to return to the store if there were only 3 bagels? How about if there were 6?

Posted by: briwei at March 18, 2008 2:23 PM

I brought them back, but I couldn't do it until the next day.

I initially thought these were bagels from a bagel store, like Bruegger's. However, a rereading of Maggie's statement suggests to me that these are frozen or refrigerated bagels. I don't think the health laws would permit one to return an open container of foodstuffs.

Posted by: Patti M. at March 18, 2008 2:26 PM

Did she have more than one bag?

Did she purchase something besides the four poppy seed bagels? If so, did she receive the other item(s)?

Posted by: Kitten Herder at March 18, 2008 2:27 PM

Would she have needed to return to the store if there were only 3 bagels?

No. Although she would have been annoyed at being overcharged.

How about if there were 6?

Not possible.

Posted by: James at March 18, 2008 2:27 PM

Did she have more than one bag?

No.

Did she purchase something besides the four poppy seed bagels? If so, did she receive the other item(s)?

She purchased only the bagels.

Posted by: James at March 18, 2008 2:29 PM

Patti: Assume the bagels came from a place like Dunkin' Donuts.

Posted by: James at March 18, 2008 2:31 PM

Wow. And they took them back? I don't know if that's code.

Now I wonder what I'm buying when I buy unwrapped foodstuffs.

Posted by: Patti M. at March 18, 2008 2:48 PM

I'm pretty sure they didn't take them back to re-sell them.

Posted by: James at March 18, 2008 2:51 PM

Oh, like when I take a chicken back to the store for my money back because it smells like a bag of farts. Gotcha.

Posted by: Patti M. at March 18, 2008 2:52 PM

Patti, so far, has come closest, at least in the spirit of the problem.

For anyone who is interested (and it looks like people do love a riddle!), I've posted the story on my blog.

Posted by: Maggie at March 18, 2008 3:27 PM

Oops, there was a link there, but I think James' comment software removes links. I don't know if it'll leave the url if I remove the anchor tags, but if so, here it is:
http://pandorastea.blogspot.com/2008/03/answer-to-bagels-riddle.html

Posted by: Maggie at March 18, 2008 3:28 PM

Code violation!

Posted by: Patti M. at March 18, 2008 3:42 PM

Aha! I thought it was going to have to do with Good Friday (no school), but I still couldn't figure out why they'd need to be returned! Excellent!

Posted by: Karen at March 19, 2008 8:18 AM

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