A little filler post to end the weekend… not exactly math so much as an odd, quirky thing that once happened to me involving numbers:
Every month I scan (as everyone should) my monthly bank statement when it arrives, for inaccuracies. It’s almost always fine, but one month a few years back I noticed two entries for my local electric utility that does automatic withdrawal from my account. Early in the month was a figure that looked like my usual amount of dollars being withdrawn, but then later in the month was a second significantly larger withdrawal. Checking my records I knew the first withdrawal was correct, but the second one made no sense to me. Had someone hacked my account, stolen my identity… to pay a utility bill??? Or just some computer glitch? Going to the bank and spending an hour they couldn’t figure out what happened either, but said they’d keep working on it and call me if they discovered something. I went home and sure enough a couple hours later the call came with the oddball explanation:
A lady had recently moved into a new house and requested automatic withdrawal to pay her utility bill. They gave her a form to fill out, but where she was supposed to write in her 11-digit banking account number she recorded instead a 12-digit credit card number (wrongly thinking she could pay by credit card). When she turned the form in, a computer (looking for a bank acct. no.) only read the first 11 digits she’d written down (of her credit card number)… which turned out to be identical to MY bank account number! What are the chances!
Just a peculiar happenstance, and a reminder to always check your financial statements… in the age of computers weird things still happen. I'm glad I caught it the very first month it occurred -- even though I'm used to seeing XYZ Utility on my statement (and thus usually ignore it), the second entry was big enough to get my attention.
Anyone else got a quirky story to tell of how computers and/or numbers threw some strangeness or mystery into your life?