Puzzles & Quizzes

Can You Solve the Shoe Store Logic Puzzle?

This logic puzzle was found in "Fundrum My Conundrum: A Book of Riddles" by Ray Epstein and Ben Kovler. It tells the tale of a counterfeiter, so keep an eye on your pocketbook — and good luck! Scroll down to read the puzzle, and keep scrolling to learn the answer.

Here's the Puzzle

A man buys a $10 pair of shoes with a $20 bill. The store owner doesn't have any change, so he goes next door to the barber to get change from him. The store owner returns to his store and gives the man $10 change and his new pair of shoes. The barber later tells the store owner that the $20 he made change for was counterfeit. To make up for it, the store owner gives the barber a real $20 bill. The pair of shoes cost the store owner $5. How much did the store owner lose after the whole affair? Scroll down for the answer.

Here's the Answer

The store owner lost $15 in the whole debacle. Because the counterfeit $20 has no value, the shoe store owner gained $20 when he got change from the barber. When he then gave the pair of shoes (which costs him $5) and $10 change to the man, he lost $15. At this point, the owner still has a net gain of $5. When he pays the barber a real $20 bill to make up for the counterfeit one he gave him earlier, the store owner then lands at a loss of $15 total. Poor guy.

If you'd like to try more challenging puzzles, check out "399 Games, Puzzles & Trivia Challenges Specially Designed to Keep Your Brain Young" by Nancy Linde. We handpick reading recommendations we think you may like. If you choose to make a purchase through that link, Curiosity will get a share of the sale.

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Written by Curiosity Staff May 16, 2017

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