Math CentralQuandaries & Queries


Question from san, a student:

Mable is offered a job selling magazine subscriptions. She has the choice of two pay scales.
Pay scale 1:
She can be paid $0.65 for each subscription she sells.
Pay scale 2:
She can be paid $0.10 for the first subscription, with the wage gong up $0.05 more for each subscription after the first.
For her first sale she would make $0.10, for her second sale she would make $0.15, for her third sale she would make $0.20, and so on.
Please compare and analyze the two scales. Which scale is better?

Hi San,

I would analyze the two choices using a table. I used I to indicate the first pay scale and II to indicate the second. The total columns keep track of your total income as you sell more subscriptions.

Number sold I: $ II: $ I: total II: total
1 0.65 0.10 0.65 0.10
2 0.65 0.15 1.30 0.25
3 0.65 0.20 1.95 0.45
4 0.65 0.25 3.60 0.70
5 ... ... ... ...

Expand the table for a few more rows. When does the II:$ column get to $0.65? Will the II:total column ever pass the I:total column? Which pay scale is better is a decision you will have to make. Your answer will need some explanation.


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