Ordered it Median, Got it Mode

I think my waitress must have been confused.  Perhaps she got her mathematical terms mixed up.  I know that many people leave school and quickly forget about the differences between the mean, the median, and the mode, but the differences were quite plain to see in my cheeseburger.

Now first of all, if you stand there and ask me how I want it cooked, that means that I am expecting it to be cooked to my specifications.  If you didn’t want to do what I wanted, you could have just not asked.  But since you did ask, I said that I wanted a burger that was cooked “medium.”  I suppose that ‘medium’ is a subjective term, much like ‘average,’ so let me quickly clear up that what I was asking for was a median burger.

The median is the middle value.  Not the highest value, or the lowest value, but the one right in between, with the same number of values above it as there are values below it.  This is how I wished for my burger to be cooked.  I could have been clearer, and next time I will definitely order it cooked “median,” just so there is no confusion.

I also would have been okay with the mean burger.  I assume that some people want their burgers cooked very rare, and probably even more people want them cooked well-done, so the mean, or true average doneness of all the burgers probably sits around medium-well, although I do not have any statistical evidence to back up these wild claims.  I am just going on what I have casually observed in my life.  Plus all the overcooked McDonald’s burgers alone probably spike that average up well past medium.

In fact, I would go so far as to say that, for multiple reasons including health-code regulations, fast food, and people being squeamish around blood, more burgers are served well-done than any other one way.  This is the mode.  The most repeated value in a set.  And this is how my burger was given to me.  Very, very well done.

Again, so we are clear, when I say that the burger you gave me was well done, it does not mean that you did a good job.  Just so we are clear.  You served me a mode burger.  The burger most often served.  Probably very often served at your restaurant, since it appears that this is what you get no matter what you order.  And it was not a bad burger.  I actually kind of enjoyed it.  Maybe not quite as much as if it had been cooked a little less, but it was still okay.  It’s just…why did you ask me how I wanted it cooked!?  You got my hopes up for a median burger, and all I got was the mode.  And that’s just mean.

Posted in Cheeseburgers, Food, Math.

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