Three college kids need a room for the night, so they go to a cheap hotel. They only have three ten dollar bills between them but convince the clerk that that’s enough to pay for this dumpy joint. He reluctantly agrees and rings up their $30.

After they get into the room, they notice the dive has no hot water. One angrily calls the front desk to complain. The clerk agrees to refund $5 for the inconvenience and says he’ll send up the bellman with the money. He goes to the cash register, takes out a five dollar bill, and tells the bellman to take it up to the kids’ room.

The bellman, once a professional speaker and writer – now reduced to a menial job (naw, I made up that part) quickly realizes he won’t get a tip if he gives the guys the five dollar bill. So he puts the five in his pocket, takes out five singles, and knocks on the door.

The room door is opened and the kid immediately realizes that if he just gives the bellman a one dollar tip, there will be a dollar left over after taking his refund and giving his two roommates theirs. He quickly decides to give the bellman a two dollar tip – and keep three dollars.

After giving each of his roommates a dollar, and keeping one for himself, he becomes a little confused. He reasons that each of them originally paid $10 for the room and received a dollar refund so, in reality, each of the guys paid $9 for the room. He knows the bellman gave him five singles and got back two as a tip.

Now he’s got a problem. 3 X $ 9 = $ 27. And the bellman got $2. $27 + $2 = $29. The kid KNOWS they started out with $30 – so where’s the missing dollar?

Be the first one to correctly solve this mystery in the Comments section and WIN a truly insignificant PRIZE now being decided on by Tuesday and Wednesday.

####

You are trying to confuse us with this old math riddle. I’m surprised you remember it. Or is it still in circulation? Anyway, I like revisiting it.There is no missing dollar if the professional speaker/bellboy returned the $2 to the kitty. They all paid $9 each.

OK This is my second try. They got a five dollar refund so they only paid $25 for the room. The professional speaker/bellboy gets two of the original thirty that they put out. And each of them pocketed a single. There isn’t any missing dollar.

Third time is a charm. The missing dollar is shown at the top of this entry. You put it there.

thank you, Paul, for all of your hard work.