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Chasing The American Dream

June 09, 2005


Posted by Hello
True, we have become a nation full of Texas Hold ‘Em poker players. There has been a movie and a TV series bout the famed game. But that’s not where I’m goin’ here; I’m going after a different type of rounder. What I’m trying to figure out is why we are a nation of rounders? This has been bugging me for some time, and now I must write about it. Let me explain.

I got gas yesterday at one of those stations with the seemingly endless supply of gas pumps. Familiar routine, right? Swipe your credit card, pick your gas, and crank the gas pump. I use the little latch so I don’t have to continually squeeze the pump. Now here’s where, it seems, I differ from the rest of the world. The gas pump clicks, I look at the total ($35.94), and I put the pump away. Done. That’s right, I didn’t round it up to $36.00.

I took a walk around the station and observed just to confirm my suspicions. Sure enough, rounders everywhere. Someone please tell me why people do this? Don’t most car manuals warn against topping off your fuel anyway? So what is the need to round up to an even dollar amount? Are these people not going to be able to pay their credit cards if the balance isn’t to 00s?

And how about restaurant rounders? I know this guy at work who always leaves a tip that will round up his bill to an even dollar amount. I know a lot of people who do this. The bill is $24.62 so the tip is $4.38 to make it an even $29.00. Again, why? Why is it so important to round? To me, this is more unusual than George Costanza eating his Snickers bar with a knife and fork. I eagerly await your responses.


  • Interesting observation ...

    I was a Rounder 'til about 10 or so years ago. I've no clue as to why I did it. Did I really think round numbers were easier to deal with?

    I don't top off at the pump. I think I just decided it wasn't worth it anymore but I don't recall ever making a conscious decision to change my ways. And I prefer the notion of an even tip ($2.00 as opposed to $1.94 just plain sounds so much better, plus less math).

    OMG like what does it all mean?

    By Blogger Jewels, at 10:24 PM, June 09, 2005  

  • I know that my car's manual says specifically NOT to top off, so I don't, but I know most people do. I do round off when practicable at dinner, but that's just because my math is so awful that I get "close" and that's good enough.

    By Blogger Denise, at 10:57 PM, June 09, 2005  

  • I only round off with cash because I hate having pennies and nickels. Dimes... maybe. With a credit card I don't really care as much. As for gas, I don't drive, so I don't know.

    Haven't talked to you in awhile, probably my fault, but you should e-mail me sometime.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:35 AM, June 10, 2005  

  • I do that, we exist in England too. Only I always find I round it, then buy some gum, or a magazine in the shop when I go to pay, which ulimately un-rounds it. Frustrating.

    By Blogger Sarah, at 6:21 AM, June 10, 2005  

  • there's a manual that comes with a car?

    the answer to your rounding question: most of us have OCD.

    By Blogger Bubbles, Ink., at 8:45 AM, June 10, 2005  

  • Well, I'm with George and all the other rounders. I do a lot of odd little things. I cut my Snickers with a knife before eating it because I don't want to hold it the whole time because that causes my fingers to get all sticky. Phooey!

    Doesn't everyone have interesting habits? I also like to keep my Trash folder empty in my email, I double check my desk a zillion times before leaving for the day, ok, ok...... I could go on. Ya, I got issues.

    By Blogger catsteevens, at 9:56 AM, June 10, 2005  

  • Thanks Robotnik - OCD, that's it.

    By Blogger catsteevens, at 9:57 AM, June 10, 2005  

  • I always round it off when I pump gas. Makes it easier when I do my expense reports to just have to enter the first two numbers and a period on the Excel spread sheet. I also, sometimes, do the same thing with a restaurant or bar tab. My wife, when she writes checks for the bills, will round up an even number as well. Maybe we are just weird...

    By Anonymous chuck, at 1:30 PM, June 10, 2005  

  • Unrelated to the content of your post but that photo of George looks like the last five guys I've met through Jdate. Ahahahahahahaha!!!

    By Blogger Vendelascity, at 3:29 PM, June 10, 2005  

  • The thing with you rounders at the gas station is that you muck up things for the next person to use the pump.

    I don't know about where you live, but here the nozzles all have stupid sleeves (hoods?) on them to (theoretically) prevent gas fumes from polluting the air. After the pump shuts off because the tank is full, the extra few cents of gas you think you're putting into your tank is actually being sucked up into those stupid sleeves. Next person to use that pump will probably end up with gasoline you paid for dripped all over their shoes. Yuck!

    And of course there are the total idiots who are so intent on getting to that round number (probably so they don't have to go wait in line for change!) that they don't even realize that all that extra gas is just pouring to the ground because the tank (and the sleeve) just plain won't hold any more!

    By Anonymous Carol, at 3:29 PM, June 10, 2005  

  • well, gee, after THAT reaming, who would actually admit to doing it now?

    ME! I do it. I do it because it's easier to remember to write down.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:36 PM, June 10, 2005  

  • I round off 'cause my dad and mom both round off.

    It's genetic and, clearly, the rounders are popping out more kids.

    By Blogger A, at 3:43 PM, June 10, 2005  

  • I round off at the gas tank and usually when paying my bills. For some reason, I never thought about doing it at a restaurant. Thanks for the idea!

    Rounders rule! :)

    By Anonymous ESSFingers, at 6:37 PM, June 10, 2005  

  • hmmm. i always round up in restaurants, and i do admit to topping off (sounds erotic, doesn't it) at the gas pump, but to the tanks capacity, not the next even dollar amount (i don't know why). i also admit to driving away once (after paying. it was a rip off, but not a rip off) with the nozzle still in the tank and tearing the hose off of the pump (luckily they have a failsafe system that prevents the gasoline from pouring out of the pump in succh a case).

    By Blogger ropedncr, at 9:59 PM, June 10, 2005  

  • I never round off. I like living life on the edge... and it has nothing to do with remembering even amounts, because I'd forget it the moment I left.

    My best friend rounds off her checkbook. I told her it's because she's too lazy to add/subtract, she said it's because she likes the extra cash at the end of the month.

    See? Even when I think I know it all... I don't! lol


    By Blogger Mari, at 10:53 PM, June 10, 2005  

  • Dancer, you pulled a Largeman from Garden State?
    Sorry folks, I'm with Mari on this one. Don't you rounders ever just wanna take off and go? Standing at the pump, goose, goose, oops, I over shot it, now I gotta re-round. UGH, people!

    By Blogger Plantation, at 10:27 AM, June 11, 2005  

  • Rounding off at the pump is silly; Well covered ground in these comments.
    I'd say tips have a bit of an arbitrary amount, so rounding off just makes things cleaner (or it avoids that whole complex addition skill).

    By Blogger Gatsby, at 12:18 PM, June 11, 2005  

  • I am not a rounder. No rounding gas, no rounding tips and bills. No eating a snickers with a fork and knife. Yet, my mother always did. It drove me nuts.

    By Blogger Amanda, at 12:46 PM, June 11, 2005  

  • I confess.... I am usually a total rounder when it comes with the gas pump.-Bad habit from dad and mom I suppose.

    By Anonymous Alexis, at 8:53 PM, June 11, 2005  

  • It's my OCD, I think. I like the even numbers in my checkbook and I like topping off my gas tank. I have no explanation for what drives me, other than the fact that it leaves me mildly pleased. The same way that I twist off my oreos and sometimes arrange my bites perfectly on my fork.

    By Blogger girl from florida, at 11:06 PM, June 13, 2005  

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