Re: Metric Time (was Re: Why not 13 months? (Was La Systeme Metrique))

John Winters (
Mon, 9 Oct 1995 08:59:55 GMT

In article <459em8$>,
Joseph Francis Nebus <> wrote:
> (ANDREW GRYGUS) writes:
>>And yet one more of them. The >>>only<<< advantage of the metric
>>systems is the sliding decimal point for conversions, so the >>>only<<<
>>thing any of you guys can come up with is obscure conversions that
>>no-one would ever need to do. Since we have units appropriate to their
>>use, we seldom need to convert much of anything in day-to-day life.
> Fine. True story, and among the reasons why I pray for the U.S.
>to get some sense and go metric:
> My parents were having friends over and were making snacks. They
>sent me out to find a suitable roadside farm stand (we do live in the
>Garden State, of course) and purchase one pint of strawberries and one
>quart of raspberries.
> I get to a suitable stand. All the containers of fruit are sold
>in 6-ounce packets.
> I could not remember how many ounces make a quart, or a pint, nor
>could I remember whether a pint or a quart is larger, nor by how much, and
>neither could the poor person working at the stand. And a person who came
>up to the stand to buy something else didn't know either. I ended up
>guessing at how much of what to buy, and my parents weren't sure of
>whether I was close to a pint and a quart either; they just fit it into
>the measuring cup.
> Now, if they'd told me, say, "get a quarter of a liter of
>strawberries and a half a liter of raspberries" I'd never have had the
>slightest trouble figuring out of which I was supposed to buy more, nor
>of roughly how much that should be (every U.S.ian knows precisely how
>much "2 Liters" is; metrics are painless if you just shut up and
>convert already). I think we ended up with too many strawberries and
>not enough raspberries, and there is no telling how many other times such
>an hors-d'ouvre-related clamity has overcome well-meaning people. It won't
>be stopped until the U.S. goes metric.

Me, I'm broadly in favour of the metric system but I can't let that
one pass. Your problem here was converting from a volumetric
measurement to a weight measurement, which would have been just as hard
in a metric system. Do *you* know how many litres of strawberries there
are to the kilo? Nor do I. And if you can't remember how many pints
there are in a quart, you're not much likelier to remember how many
centimetres there are in a metre.

Mind you, only left-ponders would do something as silly as selling
strawberries by the pint (or litre)! :-)


P.S. My mother would just trust to me having a little sense and say,
"Go out and get some strawberries." I would look at the strawberries,
judge about how many I could eat, multiply by how many people were coming
to lunch and buy that many (or a few more so I could have them with my
breakfast tomorrow.) The units involved are just a convenience to allow
the price to be standardised. I don't mind whether the vendor is selling
them in pounds, kilos, pints, quarts, or pico-hogsheads.

Newsgroups drastically cut.

John Winters. Wallingford, Oxon, England.