by Dick Rubinstein

I recently visited my local Burger King restaurant and received this register receipt with my purchase.

   I made a number of observations (resulting from my failure to bring any reading material into the establishment):

OBSERVATION A) They misspelled ‘Whopper.’

   Conjecture A1: No one has ever noticed the error.

   Conjecture A2: The printer manufacturer economized by reducing the number of columns of alphabetical print to six.

   Observation A2: The ‘X’ in ‘TAX’ is in the seventh column.

   Conjecture A3: The printer can’t print any letter in any column as an economy measure. There may be no ‘P’ available in column five, and no ‘R’ available in column seven. However, an ‘E’ is available in column six. This requires more investigation only achievable by more variety of orders, selected on the basis of spelling.

OBSERVATION B) Although they don’t charge for the exclusion of mayonnaise (NO M), or for providing a slice of onion (AD O) right now, the fact that they made a line for charges indicates clearly that they plan to do so some day.

OBSERVATION C) You can’t ‘AD Milk’ to your coffee. They had to write it in.

   Conjecture C1: Per Observation ‘B’ above, they do not plan to charge for milk in the coffee. or:

   Conjecture C2: No one in the software production uses milk in their coffee — they prefer to drink cream, sit all day at their desks, have cholesterol problems, and die young. or:

   Conjecture C3: The ‘AD Milk’ function was broken on the day I visited.

OBSERVATION D) Apparently, ‘AD’ is the opposite of ‘NO.’ They even talk that way amongst themselves and the customers. “Here’s your Whopper, ad onions, no mayo, Sir.” They really do.

OBSERVATION E) 3040 is a large number, and it’s printed in red.

   Conjecture E1: Per Conjectures A1 and A2, they economized by using numbers in these columns. The full line of text translates to ‘MANY THANKS.’

OBSERVATION F) Coffee is in a different category than hamburgers, as shown by the quantities appearing in different columns on the left side of the ticket.

   Conjecture F1: It may not be possible to order 100 Whoppers, because there is no room on the left side of the ticket to print a three-digit quantity.

   Conjecture F2: The columns shift right for multi-digit quantities. Ten coffees is the upper limit.

OBSERVATION G) I have no idea what ‘NV’ means.

I have finished eating my ‘WHOPER’ and have no interest in ordering any more food. Science will have to wait.

[Article by Dick Rubinstein taken from The Journal of Irreproducible Results, Vol.27, No.423 © 1981]