Missing Dollar Paradox

The Missing Dollar Paradox

Three ladies go to a restaurant for a meal. They receive a bill for $30. They each put $10 on the table, which the waiter collects and takes to the till. The cashier informs the waiter that the bill should only have been for $25 and returns $5 to the waiter in single dollar bills. On the way back to the table the waiter realizes that he cannot divide the bills equally among the ladies.

Since they don’t know the total of the revised bill, he decides to put $2 in his own pocket and give each of the ladies $1.

Now, each of the ladies paid $9. Three times 9 is $27. The waiter has $2 in his pocket. Two plus 27 is $29. The ladies originally handed over $30.

Where is the missing dollar?


  1. As a Reply to this page, write a brief and clear explanation for the “missing dollar.”
  2. Feel free to consult with your classmates.
  3. Complete your work by the end of class today.

33 Responses to Missing Dollar Paradox

  1. kraemercali says:

    no missing dollar because the 25$ change plus the 3$ for each lady and 2$ the waiter has equals 30$. it was worded confusingly.


  2. tenere84 says:

    There is no missing dollar because there is no 27 + 2. The riddle is worded deceptively. The $2 kept by the waiter is included in the $27 charge; 25 + 2 = 27. The women technically should not have even paid $9 each, let alone $10; a small portion of those contributions ($0.67 * 3 = $2.01) were given to the waiter personally. There is also no extra penny because you can assume one of the ladies paid one less penny.


  3. roses0102 says:

    There’s really no missing money, the waiter took the 5 and pocketed 2 dollars and handed out the rest of the money to the women. He was given 25 dollars and the other 5 dollars was the change he received.


  4. voxpopuli75 says:

    There is no missing dollar, The “missing” a dollar because the waiter kept the two dollars even though he should have divided it among the ladies. If he would have given back the ladies there 5 dollars there would have been no missing dollar. The two dollars the waiter kept divided over the three ladies would have each given them each .66 cents giving them back there “missing” dollar.


  5. ahntkd99 says:

    I think there is not missing dollar because if you 25(pay bill)+3(per lady)+2(waiter)=30 …. so it was just calculating problem.


  6. mpsj13 says:

    $25 dollars went to the cashier. The waiter has $2 in his pocket. Each woman received $1 back. 25+2+1+1+1=30. Therefore, all of the money is accounted for.


  7. The 3 ladies ended up paying $25 for their bill in which they gave the waiter $30. The cashier then gave the waiter back $5 in ones and he then pocketed $2 and gave each lady back $1. That equals the five plus the initial 30 which means there is no missing dollar.


  8. yankeefan25 says:

    They pay $25 total and each get one dollar and the waiter gets two. This means that all of the money is accounted for. The part where you multiply by three doesn’t make sense and is where the paradox occurs.


  9. they really paid $8.33 for the $25 meal and with a dollar back its $9.33 times 3 it makes a $27.99 and the waiter has kept $2 so add that up with $27.99 and you get $29.99.


  10. There is no missing dollar, since the amount the waiter took was 27 dollars instead of 30, there wouldn’t be any money left over.


  11. Valcom says:

    There would be no missing dollar in the end. The cashier put in the 30 and received 5 back, so the waiter pocketed 2 and gave each of the women back 1 dollar.


  12. Jayv23 says:

    There is no missing dollar. The three women spend 25 dollars and should have received the 5 dollars back. With the extra 5 dollars the waiter keeps two and distributes the remaining three dollars back which means that all of the money is accounted for


  13. ajuuy7 says:

    There is no missing dollar if you calculate the money directly there’s the $25 from the meal plus the $2 in the waiters pocket and $3 to each of the ladies.


  14. lucbe219 says:

    There is no missing dollar. The women paid $30, but only $25 went towards their total bill. The cashier gives back $5 in which the waiter keeps $2, and hands back $3 to the women. $25 plus $5 is equal to $30 which was what the women paid in the first place.


  15. bmdpiano says:

    There wouldn’t be a missing dollar. The representation that the ladies paid $27 is false to throw off the reader. They truly paid $25 between the three of them, and the change back was $5. Giving them each a dollar back make it looks like they each paid $9, when in reality they each paid $8.33. The change being diving in this way creates a confusion about the bill if you do not think about it in the correct way.


  16. thefrontbottom says:

    There is no missing dollar, it’s all in the calculation.The bill was $25, the waiter kept $2 and the ladies got $3 back, making the total $30.


  17. The “missing” dollar is in the till. This is because even though each lady has now only paid $9 each, which is a sum of $27, the check total was only $25. The difference between the sum the ladies paid and the check total is $2, this is the $2 the waiter kept for himself.


  18. The dollar is lost to the word problem. The cashier gave back 5 dollars and the waiter gave the ladies 3 dollars in total, and kept 2 to himself. The dollar is in the waiter’s pocket. The order was 25 dollars. The women paid 9.33 dollars. There is no missing dollar. There is a missing penny.


  19. smellycat23 says:

    There is no missing dollar because they ended up paying a total of $25, that means they each payed $8.33. The third of the dollar from each girl goes to the cashier. The waiter still has two dollars and the girls get three dollars back which makes $30.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. The ladies paid the $25 plus the extra three dollars and the waiter has two dollars in his pocket. This would mean they used that extra dollar to pay. The cashier must have it.


  21. influenza123 says:

    The dollar is not missing. The waiter receives 5 Dollars in single bills back after handing the cashier 30 dollars. This means that 5 Dollars remains in the hands of the waiter. He places two dollars in his pocket and hands each of the three ladies a single dollar bill. Three plus two equals five, therefore all the dollar bills are accounted for.


  22. bane1900 says:

    The cashier kept the $25 spent. The waiter kept $2. The women received $3 collectively


  23. There is no missing dollar. The ladies paid the $30. $25 went towards the bill, $3 were returned, and $2 given to the waiter which equals $30.


  24. comp0327 says:

    The ladies collectively paid $25, and $2 were withheld by the waiter, making the $27 we see when we multiply each of the $9 the ladies paid.


  25. athenapup4 says:

    There is no missing dollar. You can’t have two solutions to this math problem ($29 and $30). Two sums are being compared when they are not related. The total of $30 is still there because you have the $25 in the register, $1 per person ($3) and then the $2 in the waiter’s pocket. 25 + 3+2= 30.


  26. bestbaker123 says:

    There is no “missing dollar.” The ladies paid $30 total. Then the cashier took $25 from those $30, so the change was $5. That $5 in single bills was then split 4 ways: $2 to the waiter, and $1 each to the 3 ladies. So in actuality, none of the money goes missing. It all depends on the way you make the calculations to backtrace to the total amount given which was the $30.


  27. The ladies paid in total paid $25, and $2 were taken from the waiter. This is how we see $27 when we multiply $9, the amount each lady paid.


  28. morra2024 says:

    We are over-counting. The $2 the waiter put in his pocket should already be included in the total amount paid ($27). In the end, each woman payed $9 instead of $10, meaning each got $1 back. That still leaves the $2 difference between the price of the meal and the amount paid, which is exactly what the waiter took.


  29. iamsleepy01 says:

    There is no missing dollar, it is just the calculation
    25$ went to the bill, $3 returned, and $2 to the waiter. Adding to $30


  30. compclass8 says:

    They ladies all paid in total 25 dollars, and $2 were taken from the waiter, making the $27 we see when we multiply each of the $9 the ladies paid.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. hershey515 says:

    I think that there is not a missing dollar because 25+2+1+1+1 equals 30 which is the amount total that was given ($30).


  32. lazybear8 says:

    In this problem the amount of money each guest paid is irrelevant. The restaurant was paid $25, the waiter received $5 and gave $3 of the $5 to the women. You must not add debits to credits. Money flowing out is a debit, money flowing in is a credit, and they always balance over a transaction.


  33. lelebxby says:

    Technically, there is no missing dollar. The waiter gave the cashier 30 and in return got 5 dollars back. If the waiter kept 2 dollars and gave each of the women one dollar, there would be no money left over at the end of the transaction. Thus there being no missing dollar.


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