# Average price per person

I am having trouble judging where I am going wrong with the following question

The price of lunch for 15 people was $207.00 including a 15% gratuity for service.What was the average price per person EXCLUDING the gratuity ? a)11.73 b)12.00 c)13.80 d)14.00 (Ans=12.00) Here is how I am solving it Without tip =$207-\frac{15}{207} = 175.93$Per Person =$\frac{175.95}{15} = 11.73$Why is my answer wrong ? ## 1 Answer Let$x$be the total bill, without tip. Then the bill with tip is$x$plus$15\%$of$x$. So it is$x(1.15)$. Thus$x(1.15)=207$. Now you can find$x$, and divide by$15$. The above is probably the most natural way to solve the problem. One could alternately say that the amount paid per person is$\frac{207}{15}=13.80$. If$y$is the bill per person before tip, then$y(1.15)=13.80$. Remark: To see that the procedure you used is not correct, suppose that the bill before tip is$100$. Then the tip will be$15$, so the bill after tip is$115$. What happens if you remove$15\%$of this? You end up below$100$. • Thanks for the answer , could you also tell me why my method of simply removing 15% from the Bill at the start is wrong ? – MistyD Sep 1 '12 at 2:22 • @MistyD: Removing$15\%$of$207$from$207$is wrong because the$15\%$tip was on the bill(without tip) not on$207$(which includes tip) – Aang Sep 1 '12 at 2:37 • Now I see its actually Bill + 15% of Bill = 207 this implies that Bill = 207 - 15% of Bill – MistyD Sep 1 '12 at 2:43 • Consider this simpler example: A television store buys a television from the distributor for \$100 and marks it up 50% and offers it to you for \$150. You see the \$150 price and you want to know what the wholesale price was, before the 50% markup. Can you get it by subtracting 50% of \$150? No, that would give you \$75. – MJD Sep 1 '12 at 2:45
• @MistyD: This is about the fact that if you mark up by $x$ you multiply by $1+x$. If you mark down by $x$, you multiply by $1-x$. If you do one and then the other, you multiply by $(1+x)(1-x)=1-x^2\lt 1.$ If $x \ll 1, x^2 \lll 1$ and you might be able to ignore it. $15\%^2=2.25\%$ which may not be small. – Ross Millikan Sep 1 '12 at 2:52