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The Missing Dollar (Math Puzzle)

Updated on October 25, 2009

Math Puzzle

Three hunters stopped at a hotel. They decided to save money by sharing a room. When they explained to the desk clerk that they wanted to share a room, he consulted his price list and then told them that the room would cost them $30.00 for one night.

Each of the hunters handed him $10.00. The clerk gave them a receipt and the key to the room, telling them that the room was located at the top of the stairs--first door on the right.

The hunters had no sooner reached their room when the clerk remembered that the rooms were going at a reduced rate for the rest of the month. He should have only charged them $25.00 for the room.

He called for a bell boy to come to the desk. When the bell boy arrived, the clerk handed him five one dollar bills and told him to take it to the hunters and apologize for the mistake.

The bell boy headed up the stairs with the money in his hand. On the way up, he looked around to see if anyone was watching him, then stuffed two of the dollars in his pocket. He was sure no one would ever know.

He knocked on the door, explained to the hunters that the clerk had accidentally overcharged them--then handed them the remaining three one dollar bills.

Let's get this straight.

  • The clerk charged them $30.00.
  • The hunter's each gave him $10.00 (3x10=30).
  • The bell boy kept $2.00
  • The bell boy gave the hunters $3.00 (So they really paid $9.00 each for the room)
  • $9.00 x 3 = $27.00
  • Plus the $2.00 kept by the bell boy = $29.00




Submit a Comment
  • Lowell's Notes profile imageAUTHOR

    LD Lewis 

    11 years ago

    Godslittlechild, it will keep your brain spinning for a while :)

    hubber-2009, You got it! Thanks for the comment. :)

  • hubber-2009 profile image


    11 years ago from India

    Instead of charging 25 clerk charged 30.. returned balance 5 from that 2 tips balance 3 each 1 got..

    confusion is in your question..

  • Godslittlechild profile image


    11 years ago

    I haven't figured it out yet, but I'll keep working on it. I love math problems.

  • Lowell's Notes profile imageAUTHOR

    LD Lewis 

    11 years ago

    Tina, LOL! Great answer!

    jiberish, I've had a blast with this through the years. I can't recall where I first heard it, but I've heard several versions of it.

    keira7, Thanks! :)

  • keira7 profile image


    11 years ago

    Nice hub. Thanks. God Bless.

  • jiberish profile image


    11 years ago from florida

    I gave this as a math problem when I taught adults for Bank of America credit card division. It was fun to watch them try to figure it out. Thanks again!

  • profile image

    Tina Irene 

    11 years ago

    Taxes. Yeah...the government got its hands on that dollar, somehow; and given what passes for "disclosure" and "transparency" and "change" (pun intended), that dollar's transit will probably never be known.


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