Buffalo Trace

Buffalo Trace
From a few years ago, me mugging with the bronze buffalo sculpture at Buffalo Trace Distillery in Kentucky.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sharpened Pencils Aren't Required at Delta Where Math, or Evidently Logic, Has No Place!

Math has never been my long suit.

Today I sport a permanent crease between my eyes from years of primary education -- that would be pre-calculator in my case -- spent concentrating on long division and multiplication tables.

Now, I did better in algebra and geometry. Well, I did better the second time around in Algebra I than the first. Because there was a second time around, you should have deduced that I flunked it the first time. It was the only course I ever failed. I just plain didn't get it. I even had a tutor, but it didn't save me.



In the beginning, I didn't understand that algebra -- and geometry later on -- is simply learning some formulas and then figuring out where and when to apply them. I aced Algebra I the second time I took it and was put in an advanced geometry class. I aced it and found myself in the advanced Algebra II class. I aced that! I couldn't believe how easy those subjects are once you figure them out.

My only math course at ole Mother W.U. was logic. Again, this is math by formula and I got a B in it. Had I gone to class once in a while and studied a little bit, I probably would have aced it. Here's all you really need to know about logic: If A=B and B=C, then A=C. Tah-dah...

This seems like a simple concept; but in discussions with some of my liberal friends, I see it must be more complicated than I give it credit for, as they attempt to make the leap to A=F without muddying the waters with connections between any of the letters along the way. Having studied logic, trying to have a discussion with these people without my head exploding is just a burden I must bear. Of course when they get to end every argument with, "You're a racist!" or "You're a hater!" I guess they don't really need logic.

But unlike political posturing, math actually requires taking the appropriate steps.

So here's an exercise in math that apparently stumped my friends at Delta.

I'll provide the background. Only once in the four years that I've lived in Greenville have I failed to make the trip back to South Florida for the big St. Paddy's Day celebration in Delray Beach. I have friends who round out this day with an exceptional party poolside that is too much fun to miss.

This year I booked flights for the trip with Delta SkyMiles. I did it in December because the earlier the tickets are booked, the fewer SkyMiles Delta requires. If I remember correctly, for this trip they cost me 32,500 miles.

In the meantime, my friends postponed the St. Paddy's Day party because of a work conflict, and Volkswagen invited me to an event in California that spanned the final three days of my FL trip. Consequently, I considered canceling the FL trip and booking the VW trip. Are you with me so far?

Once upon a time, it would have cost me a $25 redeposit fee to put my 32,500 miles -- actually a few years ago it would have been 25,000 miles, but that's a separate issue -- back into my SkyMiles account.

I haven't needed to change a SkyMiles ticket in a few years, so I had no clue what the fees had ballooned to. I called Delta from the West Palm Beach Airport yesterday as I waited to board my flight home. That's when I learned that the redeposit/change fee is now a whopping $150! For what?

Here's the kicker and where the logic comes into play or fails to, actually: Had the redeposit fee still been $25 or even $50, I would have put those miles back into my account, and given VW the green light to book my tickets for San Francisco. I checked the cost of a Delta coach ticket from Greenville to San Francisco and the cheapest one was right at $460 with some coach tickets rocketing to as much as $1,300.

For the sake of argument, though, let's work with $460. Had Delta not tried to rape me an extra $100 for redepositing my SkyMiles, it would have gotten my $50 redeposit fee plus $460 for the California ticket.

Okay, I'm going to do the math here; that's a total of $510 toward Delta's bottom line by letting me make the change versus the zero dollars it's going to now get.

Does this make sense on any level?

There certainly is no logical argument for it.

No wonder most of the airlines are teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.

So, I'll be going to Florida as planned.

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