Frenzied Friday: Supermarkets to see surge in last minute food shoppers before Christmas
Supermarkets across the country are bracing themselves for rush of last minute Christmas food shoppers today (December 23).
Already dubbed 'Frenzied Friday', many stores are expected to have their busiest day of the year as millions of customers stock up for some Christmas feasting.
Tesco's has predicted that over 10 million customers will be visiting its stores throughout the day, around 15,000 per minute.
Tesco expects to selling 40 million Brussels sprouts across today and yesterday as well as 3.5 million carrots - enough to stretch around the world 11 times.
The big thing here is having an idea about the size of numbers. An initial question (before showing the other questions):
Question zero) Do the numbers in the question seem reasonable ones?
Q1) “10 million customers […], around 15,000 per minute”. What does this tell us?
Q2) The distance from the north pole to the equator is 10,000 km. How big would a carrot need to be if the news story is accurate?
Q0) The number of customers seems reasonable, but the number of carrots seems to be much too small to stretch around the world 11 times.
Q1) 10 million divided by 15,000 equals just over 11 hours. So either Tesco stores are open for 11 hours a day, or they have sensibly decided that more people shop during the day rather than in the middle of the night.
Q2) The circumference of the earth is 40 million metres. 11 times round the world would be 440 million metres. Dividing that by 3.5 million carrots gives an average carrot-length of 126 metres. Monster carrots! 12.6cm seems more reasonable for the length of a carrot so dividing by 1000 would be useful.
There are three easy ways to do this: make an error and assume the circumference of the world is actually 40,000 metres (rather than km); sell 3.5 billion carrots, or say that the carrots will go 0.011 times round the world!
If you decide that the Brussels sprouts should be included (the sentence is potentially ambiguous, even if you ignore the grammatical typo) then that doesn’t help (unless you have Monster Sprouts…).