Fun With Fundamentals: Problem 243

Feb. 1, 2001
For months Finagel J. Wurme has been demanding a raise, but his boss keeps insisting "a deal is a deal"

Problem 243: Trial and error
Has Wurme been finagled? You be the judge.

For months Finagel J. Wurme has been demanding a raise, but his boss keeps insisting “a deal is a deal.” Stonewalled, Wurme decides to throw himself on the mercy of the court.

Playing to the sympathy of the judge, Finagel dons tattered clothes pulled from the trash. He presents his case on a makeshift easel, serenaded by the woeful howls of his faithful pup, Blue.

Wurme insists he’s owed $4,000 from the previous year, which is all he needs to get poor Blue the medical treatment necessary to save his life. “Blue’s the only thing I got left now,” he says. “Everything’s gone. Life in the streets ain’t that bad, though, when you got a friend like this fella here,” Finagel says, as he pats his dog on the head.

Using his questionable math skills, Wurme then shows that his labors – 20 hours/week over 50 weeks (he gets two weeks of unpaid vacation) – should have netted him $14,000 last year.

Meanwhile, his boss maintains the whole thing is a sham, and that he actually paid Finagel more than what he was promised. He explains that the three-year deal he and Wurme agreed to was to average $10,000 per year, with two salary increases. In the second year (last year), Wurme was promised one and a half times his starting pay; in the third year, it was two and a half times.

Assuming the deal is as stated, who’s telling the truth? How much more or less did Finagel make last year compared to the amount he was promised? How much did he make his first year?

Solution to problem 242*, January, 2001: Hairy Houdinis

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