Thursday, July 17, 2008

17 ways to order a coffee...

July 17, 2008 - How's your math? I can add and subtract, but I'm a product of the digital age. Though I can do more complex math without gadgets, I fall to the calculator almost every time. I did manage to get through a B.Sc. and many complex math courses, and can talk a little about prime numbers. But then there is the number 17. Mathematicians love the number 17. It is indeed a prime number. As is 7. So alas, July 17 (7-17), is a Mathematician's holiday. Today is Yellow Pig Day. Is there such a thing? And can you calculate the odds?

17 is the only prime number that is the average of two consecutive Fibonacci numbers. 17 is the only known prime that is equal to the sum of digits of its cube. In Italy, Friday the 17th is an unlucky day, and it takes 17 muscles to smile. There are hundreds of other mathematical anomalies of the number 17. Today, mathematicians around the world will be contemplating not their navel lint but the number 17 instead. They will be doing so while enjoying a Yellow Pig Cake (cut in to 17 pieces).

I wonder how peach ice cream will go with that yellow pig cake? Today is also Peach Ice Cream Day. It's not a flavour that is easy to find. Maybe it's worth a trip to Baskin Robbins for a cone. I wonder if the folks on the other side of the counter will remember me for choosing an odd flavour? Unlike Starbucks, there isn't likely a lot of encouragement for the staff to get to know their customers and their preferences.

In my neighbourhood, I can hit seventeen different caf├ęs in a 7 block radius. There are large chains, small chains, local chains, independents... and still, I aim for the green awning. I order the same thing each and every day. But then again, I never need to place that order. I am one of those customers that not only stands out in the crowd, but am fairly predictable. I walk in, and my coffee is often ready before I get to the counter. It is not the only reason I continue to go for my coffee under the said green awnings, but it sure makes it hard to go somewhere else. It's all about getting to know your customers, and today is Get to Know Your Customers Day. Now if only they would remember me at the shoe store...




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