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I hate things like this.

So. Now I’m out of the goofy stage of sleep deprivation and I’m in the cranky one. I’m cranky.

And you know what makes me crankier when I’m tired? Brain puzzles. So when my friend sent me this, I mind crushed him.


I don’t know who made this. If you did, let me know and I’ll credit you appropriately. Maybe it’s just one of those random things that floats around the internet to make you unhappy. Right now I’m so zonked I can’t even think, let alone puzzle: does anybody get how this works? My mind is blown!

49 Responses to “I hate things like this.”

  1. on 14 Oct 2007 at 3:02 pm bertie242

    It’s been floating around for a while. The problem with it is that the leftover 2 should be subtracted, not added, to the 27. That would give you 25, the correct price of the room.

  2. on 14 Oct 2007 at 3:29 pm san

    *spoiler alert*
    lol, its a very old puzzle.. the answer is very simple if you just change the way how you look at it… think of what receptionist took as a part of the hotel only (otherwise you’re counting it twice).. so the final bill for every person would be $25 + $2 (what the receptionist took) = $27.. plus everyone got $1 back ($3 total) so that’s the remaining money there.. every dollar is now accounted for if you just look at it different.

  3. on 14 Oct 2007 at 3:30 pm Zack B

    It works through a form of written “smoke and mirrors”. They have you looking for thirty dollars, but the only time the thirty dollars existed was when the three guys had it collectively. After that, The hotel got 25, the receptionist got 2, and the three guys got their 3 dollars back. 25 + 2 + 3 = 30. In your drawing the last function should be minus 2, so it shows what the hotel got, not the total money involved, that’s in the top of the diagram.

    Hope that helps :)

  4. on 14 Oct 2007 at 3:42 pm Ali

    Its a very simple ‘puzzle’.. the only trick is that you shouldn’t let it trick you!

    The three guys paid $25, remaining $3 = $28!! and therefore the receptionist was left with $2.

    What the receptionist did with the extra $2 should be the question in here. :)


  5. on 14 Oct 2007 at 4:24 pm sam

    easy. ask yourself, “why am i adding 2 dollars to 27?” If you minus it then the total is 25, the appropriate amount paid for the room. It’s a clever play on words.

    25(real room cost) + 2(leftover) +3(returned) = 30

  6. on 14 Oct 2007 at 5:17 pm Brian

    Basically, the short answer is that the 2$ from the receptionist should not be added to the money the men spent… It should be subtracted from the money the men spent.

    Think about it. The men spent $27 on a room that should only have cost $25. The difference between 27 and 25 is the 2 the receptionist gets to keep.

  7. on 14 Oct 2007 at 5:26 pm Sherri

    It’s a trick, makes you think you should be adding the $2 when you shouldn’t. The $2 is part of the $27 that they paid, what you should be adding is the %3.

  8. on 14 Oct 2007 at 5:27 pm Sherri

    That should be $3, not %3.

  9. on 14 Oct 2007 at 5:50 pm Lukie

    This is just a shell game.

    The 3 guys DID NOT pay $9 each for the room. When the receptionist realized the cost of the room was $25 instead of $30, the cost per man became $8.33333 each for the room.

    Returning $1.00 each to the 3 men made the cost of the room $28.00 – – – $9.3333 each per man, and not $27 or $9.00 even per man.

    Elementary, Watson.

  10. on 14 Oct 2007 at 6:18 pm Kal

    I agree, it is just a shell game. Here’s my solution:

    The story implies the following equation:

    30 – 3 + 2 + X = 30

    But the true situation is:

    30 – 3 = 25 + 2

    Actually, the 3 guys DID pay $9 each for the room.
    So they payed $27 instead of $25 and the receptionist kept the $2 difference.

    So there is no $ missing.

    Always at your service.


  11. on 14 Oct 2007 at 6:40 pm Jeff

    Each man paid 9. Total of 27. The hotel got 25, the receptionist got 2. 30 is not a factor here.

  12. on 14 Oct 2007 at 6:50 pm brem

    The math exposed in the drawing is completely bogus :) that’s why.
    Lukie’s got it.

  13. on 14 Oct 2007 at 6:51 pm Randall

    Or more simply:

    Each man paid $9, so in total the men paid $27. Between them, they paid $25 for the room and $2 to the receptionist. The number 30 doesn’t have any relevance to the final setup.

  14. on 14 Oct 2007 at 6:54 pm DrFreemanstein

    The real question is however….

    What are the three guys going to be doing??
    In one room??
    In such a cheap hotel???

  15. on 14 Oct 2007 at 6:58 pm BigHairyMonster

    An easier (and more correct) way to think about it –

    they each end up paying $9 even (giving 10 and getting 1 back). They really do, Lukie. No tricks there.

    $25 of that goes to the cost of the room. The other $2 goes in the receptionist’s pocket.

    3×9 = 25+2 = 27

    The only reason this confuses people is that the patter throws you off by ADDING the $2 in the pocket to the $27 they’ve paid. But where did it come from? that’s right – it’s already counted in what they paid!

  16. on 14 Oct 2007 at 7:01 pm Dave

    The guys originally paid 10 they all got a dollar back so they all paid 9. The 2 dollars the receptionist got was from the guys overpaying. 27-25 is 2 dollars for the receptionist.

  17. on 14 Oct 2007 at 7:03 pm uberDOOK

    Wrong.. It’s just a mistake in the wording. “If the three guys paid a total of $27 for the room, and the receptionist kept the leftover $2…” This tells us dissinformation. There was $3 left over, not $2. The receptionist is a scammer 😛

  18. on 14 Oct 2007 at 7:03 pm Justin

    At the end of the game, they have paid $27 and they have kept the left over $3. 3+27=30.

    Of the 27, 2 went to the receptionist, 25 went to the cost of the hotel room.

    The mixup here is that the puzzle does 27+2 instead of 27+3. The $2 the receptionist keeps is part of the 27 that they paid.

    Actually Paid + Refund = Original Price
    27 + 3 = 30

    Actually Paid – Receptionist = Room Cost
    27 – 2 = 25

  19. on 14 Oct 2007 at 7:09 pm brandon

    The error, mind twister, occurred when the amount for the room was assumed to be $27 dollars.

    The three men paid $25 for the room…the adjusted cost. $2 stayed with the receptionist and $1 dollar was returned to the 3 men.

    $25 + $2 = $27 + $3 = $30 (the original amt. paid)

  20. on 14 Oct 2007 at 7:09 pm uberDOOK

    Oh, i didnt read your post all the way lol, thats why I’m UBERdoork!!1!1

  21. on 14 Oct 2007 at 7:39 pm MajorDefect

    Lukie is incorrect. The three paid $9 dollars each for a total of $27.

    The $2 comes from the rebate, not the initial amount paid. From the initial $30, $3 goes to the men, $2 goes to the guy at the front desk and $25 goes to the hotel.


  22. on 14 Oct 2007 at 8:00 pm joe

    Umm..I am not sure what the real answer is, but I do know that the math is wrong in the diagram. I believe Lukie is right, but that was not how it was explained to me.

  23. on 14 Oct 2007 at 8:13 pm mathmom

    This is a VERY old problem.

    Another way to look at it is

    The men paid $27–>$25 went to the hotel, and $2 to the clerk.

  24. on 14 Oct 2007 at 11:54 pm jamesp

    The problem is, you forgot to take out the $2.00. When $1.00 was given back to each guy, that meant they paid $9.00 each. You still have to subtract the $2.00 the receptionist took. In other words… 30-3=27(monty given back to the 3 guys) 27-2=25(money taken by the receptionist). When you only subtract the 3, you can’t add the 2 that have not been taken out yet. Sorry Lukie, your wrong.

  25. on 15 Oct 2007 at 12:22 am Bunk

    Ditto that, mathmom.
    What I’d like to know, is why do 3 guys want to share a hotel room if the rates are so cheap, and where is this fleabag hotel that only charges $25 per night? Disturbing if you think about it.

  26. on 15 Oct 2007 at 12:49 am Behemoth

    uhhm guys… why so complicated o.O

    The flow chart is right except one tiny little thing… the +2 has to be -2

    it’s not like they paid 9$ and got the 2$ back, they got theire 1$ back already when they paid 10$ and made it to 9$ each PERIOD

    27 minus the 2$ for the keeper = 25$
    3$ they got from the earlier deduction

  27. on 15 Oct 2007 at 1:04 am Bob

    It’s simpler than that.

    It is minus 2 dollars, not plus 2 dollars. $30-$5=$25 which would be $30-$3-2$=$25, NOT $30-$3+$2=$29

  28. on 15 Oct 2007 at 1:44 am da1whotaints

    to phrase the answer a little better:

    the men paid 30 bucks. each gets back 1 buck. so they now have paid 27 bucks. now why did the idiot who wrote the problem add 2 dollars to 27? to trick you.

    you would think, the amount the men pay plus the amount the receptionist kept should be 30, but 30 is merely the amount the men paid originally, not related to the numbers 27 and 2. as expected 27 MINUS 2 = 25, the current cost. the men paid 9 dollars each. 25 of those 27 went to the hotel. the other 2 went to the receptionist.

  29. on 15 Oct 2007 at 2:08 am RIPed Paradigm

    Come on guys, remember your math order?
    Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally?
    The problem arises from doing your math in an improper order.

  30. on 15 Oct 2007 at 2:23 am MoJo-JoJo

    Lukie. What are you smoking?
    The problem was clearly posted. If each paid $10 and got $1 back, they effectively paid $9 and no change. If you cannot understand or solve the problem, don’t hide your head in the sand and make things up. It’s waaaay too Christian a thing to do…
    This is an old question and the answer to it is that the logic followed (even though apparently impeccable) is flawed. specifically, you when you calculate credits (the money returned to the customers) along with debits (moneys paid to the hotel -including the bellboy-) messes the calculations up. The right way to follow the money is:
    The hotel took $27 ($25 for the room and $2 for the bell boy) and returned $3 = $30.
    You see, the guys never gave the bellboy any tip, the bell boy took the money for himself, so that money was never equally divided amongst the clients…

  31. on 15 Oct 2007 at 3:11 am Konstantinos Konstanitnidis


    The 3 blokes gave 10 bucks each for a total of 30.

    Then the 3 blokes got a buck back each, so they ended up having paid 9 bucks each for a total of 27 and the cashier was left with 27.

    Remember the price of the room was 25 and the cashier holds 27, so he pockets the two and puts the 25 in the cash register.

    The corret maths therefore are:

    30 = 3*10 = 3*9 + 3*1 = 25+2+3*1

    where 25 is the price of the room, 2 is what the cashier pockets, and 3*1 are the returned bucks.

  32. on 15 Oct 2007 at 3:14 am Konstantinos Konstanitnidis

    BTW, Lukie’s a answer is wrong, they DID pay $9 each for the room, they gave $10 and got $1 change. It’s the OTHER side of the equation that is wrong in the drawing, the 27+2 which adds totally unrelated values.

  33. on 15 Oct 2007 at 3:28 am JoeBobBillyBobNoBobThe3rd

    the total was 30… and he gave back 3 and kept 2… so its not true, they didnt pay 27… they paid 28 total (25+3 is 28). (the whole point of this problem is to find your errors). obviously 30-5=25… so they paid 9 each… and he kept 2… (2(tip)+3(refund) = 5 + 25…. you do the math). All math has its loop holes… this is one pointed out. THERE IS NO MISSING CASH… do it yourself… put out some paper pieces infront of you and play the problem

    lay out 30… give 3 back, take 2. thats 5 total.. and leave 25 in the pile… why add the 2 to the pile?? your not adding to it.. your taking away from it…they pay 25… get $1 back.. and you keep 2.. theres nothing to it.

  34. on 15 Oct 2007 at 3:42 am guy

    ya mathmoms right, the three guys do pay 9 dollars each, not 9.3333 or whatever. they pay 27 and get 3 back so that adds up to 30. the 2 dollars is the extra 2 they paid for the rooms instead of 25.

  35. on 15 Oct 2007 at 5:10 am ScytheNoire

    Bunk has the correct answer. :)

  36. on 15 Oct 2007 at 5:19 am Brain Fork

    Lukie’s got it right.

    Where did the 27 come from? They paid $30 not 27. The 27 is simply a form of misdirection used to throw you off.

    Basically, the three guys paid $30 ($10 each). The room cost $25 so there was $5 in change. The clerk refunded $3 and kept $2. Therefore the math is as follows.


    If this wasn’t purposely designed as a trick, then someone needs to learn math and logic.

  37. on 15 Oct 2007 at 12:17 pm tobster

    I have always been bothered by this question. Comments above are correct, but for me to grasp it I had write it out. I hope this helps:

    $10+10+10 = 1+1+1+2+25

    Of the $30 dollars we are talking about, 1 dollar went to each man, 2 to the
    receptionist and 25 to the hotel. Everything adds up!

    Just for fun let’s rearrange the terms above:

    10+10+10-1-1-1 = 2+25

    Still OK. Now, lets reduce the left:

    27 = 2+25.

    Still OK, but here is the trick. The problem says to “ADD” 2 to 27, but instead you should subtract it. That’s it. The final step in your drawing should have been to subtract 2 from 27, and you get 25, the remaining amount of money.

  38. on 15 Oct 2007 at 11:29 pm Kris

    Funny, y’all. when i went to work it out, i started counting backwards from 30 for the three guys (on my fingers no less) to 27, and went back 2 more to the 25… and kept wondering where the problem was!!!

  39. on 15 Oct 2007 at 11:32 pm jamesp

    Ali, you need to read it again. They each paid 10 and then got back 1 each.1-10=9 9*3=27. They didn’t pay 25…the hotel only got 25. The last part of the math problem is wrong. So one more time for those who are still stumped…10*3=30. They all got 1 dollar back 30-3=27. Remember, they did NOT get 5 back, they got back “3”. The receptionist kept 2, 27-2=25. O.K. so, the guys paid a total of 27, receptionist kept 2 and the hotel got 25. Now, here is the magic part…lets go backwards..ready? 25 (hotel)+ 2(receptionist)+ 3(3 guys)= 30. OMG!! It all adds up.

  40. on 16 Oct 2007 at 1:20 pm moooooog35

    You guys are overthinking this.

    The moral of the story is: two guys to a room…MAX. Three guys to a room is grounds for expulsion from Mantown.

    ..the rest of this is null and void.

  41. on 16 Oct 2007 at 8:50 pm Fiar

    The problem is that there is no extra dollar. The “extra dollar” is taken up by the fact that 24 and not 25 is divisible by 3. That, and the cashier is a thief.

  42. on 17 Oct 2007 at 5:39 pm Finicky Penguin

    Why are you all so concerned about this? 😕

  43. on 17 Oct 2007 at 8:31 pm lol i have a very long name so i just put this vary long list of words:cat,bat,lat,tat,wat,gat,mat,gat

    whats the big problom is just some stuped math pro. i ha8 math…

  44. on 18 Oct 2007 at 1:28 pm MgValliant

    I first came across this back in my college days (late 60’s). With a little practice, and a bit of slight of hand, I was able to get myself a free beer every Friday night.
    I asked the patrons lay out $30 in singles on the bar. Made for a great bar story. It worked best, though, after everyone already had a few beers.

  45. on 29 Oct 2007 at 4:27 pm seth

    So here’s the real answer.

    Later that evening, two girls walked into the same hotel, and wanted to share a room. The receptionist makes the same mistake, and charges them $30, so they each payed $15, because 15 + 15 = 30.

    They’re up in their room, and the guy realized that he’s made the same mistake, but this time he’s gotten a little greedier, so he gives them each $1, and keeps $3 for himself. So they’ve now payed $15 – $1, or $14 total.

    $14 + $14 = $28, and $28 + $3 = $31.

    And that’s where the extra dollar went.

  46. on 22 Nov 2007 at 3:46 am Ashley

    The actual answer to this problem is that there is no answer. It is an old brain teaser that was made to make people think. I read this same teaser in an old book I have and it clearly stated that the problem is unsolvable.

  47. on 13 Feb 2008 at 9:38 am Sammy B

    There’s a problem here all right. Even though nearly 30 plausible explanations are presented, Ashley states that written in a book was this same problem stating that there is no explanation.

    ??? O_o

  48. on 19 Jul 2008 at 4:49 pm Sosuke

    There was no extra dollar, the problem isn’t right.
    Three guys,
    Each guy puts in 10 dollars,
    each guy gets one dollar back,
    the counter guy keeps the extra two.
    Let 0 be the balance before he pays
    There was no extra dollar, the problem was wrong.
    Rather than subtracting the two dollars the counter guy pocketed they added, making the problem incorrect.
    Where did the last dollar go?

  49. on 23 Feb 2009 at 3:57 am Anna

    If the receptionist gives one dollar to three people of five dollars and keeps two…add one plus one plus one plus two…that’s five.

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