Math IS Real Life: December 2015 edition – a pizza predictament

It’s the first Wednesday of December which means it’s time for our monthly linky – Math IS Real Life!! If you want to see how the linky works, or just want other real world math ideas, check out our Pinterest Board of all the posts so that you can look back and find some great ideas and REAL pictures to use in your classroom!

If you are linking up, please include the below picture to link back to this blog post


 A monthly REAL WORLD math blog link-up hosted by MissMathDork,


Friends&Family-Giving has come and gone (it was fabulous!!!) and like most people we’ve been loading up on Thanksgiving leftovers (YUM!).  Also like most people, we needed a bit of a break from the leftovers, so we ordered a pizza.

There’s a pizza place down the road from us that makes delicious New York style pizza.  Oh, and did I mention it’s called the Colossal? Yep, 24 inches of cheesy goodness – perfect for friends coming over to watch a football game!


As we were having some friends over, we decided a colossal was the perfect idea.  We ordered 1/4 mushroom, 1/4 meatball, and 1/2 pepperoni (everyone needs their flavor!).


When I went to pick up the pizza, the cashier told me the price was 28.99 plus tax.  Instantly my “math-dar” went off. I questioned if they had raised their prices and the girl said no.  $17.99 for the regular colossal and $3 per topping.   Now, I’m not usually one to make a stink about prices being off – I usually go with the flow and just write it off…. however, something in me just wouldn’t let this one drop.

I explained to the cashier that they only used “1 topping” worth of toppings.  She said I had three toppings.  Then I tried to explain that pepperoni only covered HALF the pizza – so I should be charged HALF that topping (1.50), and etc etc for the other two.  No dice…

After confusing her some more, she called over he manager on duty.  At this point, I should’ve given up, but I was too far into needing to make the situation right.  Teacher mode was in full force (NEVER a good place to be when NOT in the classroom!) I proceeded to explain the fractions of the pizza to him and he stated that “they could only charge in half toppings” and that while he agreed that I shouldn’t be charged for 3 toppings, that I should be charged for 3 halves…. 1.5 toppings.

*deep breath….*  I explain that we always purchase a pizza with  3 toppings in a 1/2 : 1/4 : 1/4 split and we’ve always paid for one topping.  The manager replies something to the effect of “well then you’ve always gotten some food for free then!”

At this point, I realize I’m not getting anywhere, I pay for my 1.5 toppings and leave (fuming).  I get home and retell my story and multiple people tell me that if it’s the store policy, it’s the policy and to let it go.

Am I wrong to be upset to be paying for 1.5 toppings?


  Don’t forget to check out the other MIRL posts below!  Check back over the next few days – more will be added!!

Categories: #mirl, geometry and measurement, math is real life, mathematical reasoning, and number and number sense.


  1. The only thing I’d maybe say about their policy is perhaps it is a “convenience charge” because they have to think so darn hard on how to distribute 3 toppings! Frustrating for certain! My MIRL is that I have to visit an Occupational Therapist for a hand injury I received before school started. Each appointment she takes measurements with a protractor type tool to see before and after measurements of my finger’s flexibility.

  2. I would have lost my mind with that manager! If all toppings are $3 each, why couldn’t they just charge you for one topping. Pinning this page to share with my students when we get to our fraction unit. I am interested in how they would have approached it.

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