Where Did The Other Dollar Go? This Brainteaser Is Hurting The Internet's Head

You guys like brainteasers, right? Well, wrap your minds around this one that's currently making the rounds. I'm calling it “Where Did the Other Dollar Go?”, as that's the point of the whole thing — to figure out where one stray dollar goes during the course of the riddle. The scenario in which it takes place involves shopping for a shirt, but if clothing doesn't do it for you, feel free to substitute in whatever middling-to-big ticket item you'd like — a phone, a concert ticket, whatever.

The riddle first popped up on Quora last summer — but thanks to Cosmopolitan, it's made its way onto the Internet's radar again. Want to try your hand at it? Here we go:

The Riddle:

According to Quora, it goes a little something like this.

I saw a shirt for $97. I borrowed $50 from Mom and $50 from Dad. I bought the shirt with $3 of change. I gave $1 to Mom, $1 to Dad, and kept $1 for myself. Now I owe my mom $49 and my dad $49. $49 + $49 = $98 + my $1 = $99. Where did the other $1 go?

It's probably safe to assume that this $97 shirt must have been purchased in a state without sales tax — although it also must be a really effing special shirt for someone's parents to lend them that much money to purchase it. Just sayin'.


Yeah. Like that. That's magical.

The Answer:

Figuring this one out actually isn't that difficult; you just to, as they say, follow the money. Here, I made you a chart — it shows where the money is at each step in the riddle, along with the total amount of cash in play:

The two $49 figures mentioned in the riddle? Those are inconsequential for actually solving it — they're the debt this fashionable shopper owes his or her parents, not the money that actually changed hands during any of the transactions. So, in truth, the dollar didn't “go” anywhere; it's been there all along. You just have to know where to look for it — and what not to be distracted by.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Images: tethysimagingllc/Fotolia; Giphy; Lucia Peters