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I just overheard...

(78 Posts)
CanadianGran Thu 23-Mar-23 21:29:11

A young person at work asking someone else if lbs were different from kgs.

She didn't ask if pounds were different from kilograms, it was
l.b.s. and k.g.s.... spelled out.

This is a young worker appox 19 or 20 keying in hazardous goods info into a tracking system. What on earth are they learning in school?

I'll be checking in with my grandchildren if they are learing weights and measures at school.

Jackiest Thu 23-Mar-23 21:35:47

They told me the imperial system was being phased out when I was at school. It is about time we got rid of it.

Deedaa Thu 23-Mar-23 21:45:20

I was working in a cafe in Cornwall about 20 years ago and a 16 year old girl was having problems with the till. It turned out that she didn't know where the decimal point went in decimal coinage. This was a girl who had only ever known decimal money, seemed reasonably bright, and was supposed to be going on to some sort of further education!

Hellogirl1 Thu 23-Mar-23 21:55:03

As someone who still thinks in pounds and ounces, I vote to get rid of kilograms!

Marydoll Thu 23-Mar-23 22:10:00

When I was still teaching, we had a section in the maths programme, which focused on both the imperial and metric systems of measuring weight.
Hopefully it taught pupils the difference.

In 1976 I was working in the finance dept of the local health board and responsible for paying the oil bills for the hospital heating.
The clerk of works ordered in gallons, but we were invoiced in litres.
To this day, I still remember that 1 gallon= 4•4596 litres.
Those 1/000s of a litre, were important, no rounding up or down.
Thank goodness for calculators.

Grammaretto Thu 23-Mar-23 22:17:51

We are at a disadvantage in the UK with our different and sometimes parallel measures and weights.

My digital kitchen scales measure in oz and gms.

Clothes and shoe sizing can be confusing.

I wish we could make our minds up.

HettyBetty Thu 23-Mar-23 22:31:07

Another vote for the imperial system.

A while ago a friend was telling me about her newborn granddaughter. The child's weight was given in kilos, I had no clue if she was healthy or not.

I can sew and cook in both systems but nearly always use imperial given the choice.

CanadianGran Thu 23-Mar-23 22:50:21

I'm not promoting one system over the other, I was flabbergasted that a 20 yr old didn't know that there was a difference.

I wonder how she buys sliced ham in a deli.

Doodledog Thu 23-Mar-23 23:03:00

I use both (and cups), and think mostly in imperial measures. I don't care what my weights say, but I can visualise 4oz of butter or 8oz of flour much better than a kilo or 500g.

VioletSky Thu 23-Mar-23 23:15:50

Good on this lady for asking when she didn't know... that is an absolutely positive thing and we don't reach adulthood having retained the total of all knowledge imparted to us.

I did not get on well at school but I was an avid reader and developed a huge vocabulary which helped when I went back to education later. Many many times I have mispronounced words and been laughed at because our language has a ridiculous amount of words that do not conform to any phonetic rules.

We can all learn and do better...

welbeck Thu 23-Mar-23 23:28:09

you don't need to understand any unit of weight to
buy from a delicatessen counter though, do you.
most people point to something and ask for 6 slices or $5 worth of the cheese.
as i've said before on here, but don't seem to be believed, most people are not foodies.
the posters on here are unusual, in that they do a lot of home cooking, so may think in terms of weight/volume measures of ingredients;
but most people do not. not nowadays.

Hetty58 Thu 23-Mar-23 23:39:36

Doodledog, I was wondering whether to use UK or US measuring cups to make pancakes - as they are different sizes.

My exasperated granddaughter said 'The whole recipe is in cups - so it doesn't matter, it's just ratios!' Having once taught Maths, I was suitably ashamed.

Doodledog Thu 23-Mar-23 23:43:09

grin. I suppose it depends on whether you are making American pancakes or British ones 😉

Chestnut Thu 23-Mar-23 23:58:31

I agree that it is astonishing that an adult woman doesn't know there are imperial and metric measurements and they are different.

I also agree that it is extremely annoying to have two systems working side by side. When you buy something online where the size is important, and you have to compare several before buying, you often find some in metric and some in imperial. You have to measure your item and calculate the size yourself in order to compare the items.

I just wish we could use one system instead of this ridiculous sitting on the fence situation using both systems.

Wheniwasyourage Fri 24-Mar-23 06:31:31

Metric for me, although I can work in both. We learned metric at school in the sixties in science lessons, and it's logical. I weigh wool and myself in kilos and can work in either for cooking. It gets even more complicated when Imperial and US measurements have the same names but are different quantities, and as for measuring in cups... confused !

BlueBelle Fri 24-Mar-23 07:31:56

Although I m a lbs and ounces, feet and inches woman I think we need to go completely metric it’s because we can still work in the old style that it’s messy
When money was changed we went straight over and had to get used to it

If it changed completely overnight we would all be fine within a week it’s because those of us brought up and at school with imperial and because it’s still there we are happy to keep using it

Baggs Fri 24-Mar-23 08:21:44

I like the variety. When I'm looking for something of a certain size, say a picture frame, I record the measurements in both inches and cm. Most measuring instruments do both too.

Recently I found Chinese garment sizing by height and body weight much more useful than the usual bust/waist/hip measurements most clothing sellers use. I don't care what units measurements are given in. I have a pocket calculator (phone) that can do instant conversions.

The young person in the OP story strikes me as not knowing what she was dealing with at all so, basically, very poorly educated and not curious enough to find out stuff for herself.

Doodledog Fri 24-Mar-23 08:42:39

Cups are so easy! I have a set of little matryoshka dolls that measure different cup sizes and use them a lot. Converting from ounces to cups would be a faff, but it's the relative quantities that matter, not the actual amounts (as Hetty pointed out earlier).

Don't be too hard on the girl. She was probably just making sure that nobody was harmed by hazardous substances. She shouldn't have been left to deal with them without supervised training, really. At least she'll know now.

JackyB Fri 24-Mar-23 09:33:16

I think what may have confused the girl in CanadianGran's original post was the abbreviation "lb". She may not have known - or just recognised in that context - that it stood for pounds. It's not self-explanatory if you don't know.

Yammy Fri 24-Mar-23 09:48:03

We need to teach children how to convert one to the other.
Whilst most or all European countries and others around the world use Metric, Americans still use Imperial.
If children are going into higher education they will come across the American Imperial measurements. I know from my own family's experiences.

Mollygo Fri 24-Mar-23 09:49:17


I think what may have confused the girl in CanadianGran's original post was the abbreviation "lb". She may not have known - or just recognised in that context - that it stood for pounds. It's not self-explanatory if you don't know.

Good point. It’s not self explanatory and faced with lbs and Oz a common abbreviation for Australia-who wouldn’t be confused.
I work in metric for most things, but my height is in imperial because the extra half inch is important to me.
In metric, that half can be expressed by any number e.g. .37 or .91cm depending on the number of inches and I don’t have time to multiply by 30.48 every time.

timetogo2016 Sat 25-Mar-23 09:57:27

I agree Hellogirl1.

pascal30 Sat 25-Mar-23 10:30:21

I muddle along with a mixture but really prefer Imperial. I also think good for the girl to feel confident enough to ask the question.. Much better than making a mistake out of ignorance, this is the way she will become a success

annodomini Sat 25-Mar-23 11:28:08

I see no reason why school children should learn about the antiquated imperial system of weights and measures, since the decimal system is almost universal though the US still clings to it. Having said that, I still think of myself in terms of stones and pounds.

NanaDana Sat 25-Mar-23 11:34:35

I clearly remember just after we went metric going to a hardware store, and asking for ten yards of garden hose. The shopkeeper said that they couldn't sell it in yards, as it was now all measured in metres. I gave the O.K. to go ahead, and was then asked if I wanted it in inch or half inch diameter. The shopkeeper seemed surprised when I then fell about laughing..