Meet the 3/9-Pound Burger and Read the Sad Story Behind It

Do the math.

Do you recall learning how to reduce fractions when you were in school? You were taught to divide both the top number (numerator) and bottom number (denominator) by the greatest common denominator. Thus the fraction 3/9, for example, could be reduced to 1/3 by finding the greatest common denominator, which in this case is 3.

Mindful of this, why has fast food chain A&W announced that is now selling a “3/9 lb. burger”? Why, in other words, hasn’t the chain chosen to call the new offering a 1/3-pound burger?” Because they tried that once, and the results were a nightmare.

Yahoo! has more:

In the 1980s, the chain added a new third-pound burger to its menu, a premium item meant to rival McDonald’s wildly popular Quarter Pounder. A&W had high hopes for its new massive creation and decided to sell it at the same price as the Quarter Pounder, offering more bang for the customer’s buck. Following its release, however, the third-pounder failed to take off.

When A&W consulted a marketing firm to get to the bottom of things, they made a perplexing discovery: apparently, customers were struggling to understand that a third of a pound of meat was more than a quarter-pound. Yes, really, the customers actually thought the third pounder weighed less than the Quarter Pounder. “Why should we pay the same amount for a third of a pound of meat as we do for a quarter-pound of meat?” they asked.

A&W is making no effort to bury its marketing “sin.” In fact, the company is exploiting it in a new ad:

It’s bad enough that the United States places a paltry 25th in math, science, and reading in a worldwide ranking of education by country. To pander to the masses by dumbing down a restaurant menu item is downright pathetic.