Arithmetic is Alive and Well in Doha

Doha Intercontinental Hotel Oktoberfest tickets cost QAR 170 each. I was buying two, from hotel reception, for which I handed over QAR 350, not having the exact change. The receptionist, as upright and smart-suited a young man as one would expect in a five-star establishment, placed my money and tickets carefully out of reach below the counter and proceeded to walk the considerable length of reception to borrow a calculator from the cashier. On returning, he entered the following calculation: 170 x 2 = 340. So far, so good. He then took a notepad and pen and wrote down the number 340. Next, he cleared the calculator display and performed a new calculation, 350 - 340 = 10. Returning to his note pad, he wrote the number 10. He looked up at last and explained to me: "You have purchased two tickets at 170 each. That totals 340. You have given me 350, so your change will be 10 Riyals. Please step this way to the Cashier desk to complete the transaction".
And when the cashier's electronic till reconfirmed the complicated figures, the upright, smart-suited young man's face palpably shone with pride and no little relief.


  1. I think he has procedures to follow. Some of the worker they don't want to switch on they're mind they only follow management procedures.
    Nice blog

  2. Well, that's a charitable interpretation. But I doubt if the procedures would have included the intermediate paper step!

  3. I am told there is a whole generation that doesn't know how to quickly add things mentally. Personally, I used to count on my fingers LOL. Loved the image you present here and I can just see that elegant young clerk proudly handing you your change. Nice post.

  4. Hi Roberta - at least he was faultlessly polite throughout the proceedings!

  5. Hey Paraglider, good to see another post with more Doha Gems. I have seen this so many times, yes including the paper step, they don't know what the "M" button is for. In my office I have banned such nonsense for such a simple calc and often tell my staff member to use his/her brain. There is a sad reliance on electronics for everything. Another of my pet hates is writing the answer of a multiplication to 5 or more decimal places, because that's what the calculator indicates as the answer when all is required is the nearest centimetre. Cheers, PaulRB-Doha.

  6. Hi Paul - good to see you back here! I'm with you on the false precision: 3.33333333 etc. BTW, I heard there was some trouble recently at the Rugby Club. No serious repercussions for the club, I hope?

  7. Ah, OK. I'd thought you were a Rugby Club regular for some reason. Anyway, it seems that at a recent Bahrain v Qatar fixture, in the after match socialising, a fight broke out and escalated to the point that the police had to come in and control it, which has never happened before. But I've not heard of any follow-up action.


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