A Weighty Weigh-In

Dec 03, 2007

RAY: This came rather recently from a fellow named Josh Kokendolfer and he says, "This is a true story." Of course, because it was a true story I had to obfuscate it.

It was a brisk December morning. A co-worker and I had a simple job to do that day: clean out the job site and take the trash to the local landfill. And we had an F-350 pickup that was outfitted with a dump-truck bed. We filled it up and headed out. When we arrived at the landfill we pulled the truck onto the scale that weighed our vehicle and the landfill lady waived us through.

We unloaded and headed back out to the scale. Once again our truck was weighed. I informed the madame of the landfill that we would return in a few hours with a second load and she grunted at me as I headed back to the truck. Now before getting into the truck I noticed that one of the back tires was low. I decided to stop at one of the local gas stations to check it out and fill all the tires just in case.

Well after lunch we loaded the truck a second time at the site and headed back to the landfill. Everything went just like the first time. After we were weighed on exiting, I went to pay the bill. As the lady stamped paid on my bill I headed back to the truck. My co-worker looked at the paperwork and noticed something strange.

The first time we left we weighed 6,480 lbs. And the second time we exited we weighed 6,440 lbs - a difference of 40 lbs. We were being charged for an extra 40 pounds of trash that we didn't have. I immediately stormed into the office to complain and explain the situation. She grinned and said, "There's nothing wrong with our scales." Well, if that's the case, what happened?
Answer: 
RAY: Now the beautiful obfuscation here was that they went to the gas station and filled up the tires.

TOM: Yeeessss.

RAY: And filling up the tires had nothing to do with the weight of the truck.

TOM: No.

RAY: But going to the gas station, even though they didn't get gas, may have planted the seed that the reason the truck weighed 40 pounds less is that had burned 40 pounds of gas or about six gallons.

TOM: Yeah.

RAY: After that first trip. So when it left the dump the first time, went back to the job site, filled up and came back it burned six gallons of gas.

TOM: Because it was far away.

RAY: Eh, I didn't tell you how far it was. But it was after lunch so it had to have been far away. Pretty good, huh?

TOM: Wow.

RAY: So who's our winner?

TOM: That's, that's great. The winner is Ed Voleva, from Newburgh, Indiana, and for having his answer selected at random from among the pile of correct answers that we got, Ed is going to get a 26-dollar gift certificate to the Shameless Commerce Division at cartalk.com, with which I should tell ya, he can get a 20th anniversary Car Talk T-shirt with our greasy fingerprints pre-installed on it. This is actually a replica of the original Car Talk T-shirt. Remember the original shirt?

RAY: I do. In the early days we used to say, if you won the puzzler you got the Car Talk T-shirt. But at that time there was only one T-shirt.

TOM: Yah.

RAY: You got to wear it for a week, and then you had to wash it and send it to the next week's winner. We were a more frugal operation in those days. Kind of shoestring you know?

TOM: Yeah, well now you can get your very own original Car Talk T-shirt for keeps, Ed, for being this week's puzzler winner.

RAY: And, don't forget that our extremely useless Car Talk parking permits are back, and are free with any Shameless Commerce order.

TOM: Why do people want those? I don't get it.

RAY: Well, it's a conversation piece, you get to say, hey, it doesn't let me park anywhere but it sure looks good on my window, doesn't it?

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