Missing Dollar Paradox

Where’s the Missing Dollar?

Three ladies go to a restaurant for a meal. They receive a bill for $30. They each put $10 on the table, which the waiter collects and takes to the till. The cashier informs the waiter that the bill should only have been for $25 and returns $5 to the waiter in single dollar bills. On the way back to the table the waiter realizes that he cannot divide the bills equally among the ladies.

Since they don’t know the total of the revised bill, he decides to put $2 in his own pocket and give each of the ladies $1.

Now, each of the ladies paid $9. Three times 9 is $27. The waiter has $2 in his pocket. Two plus 27 is $29. The ladies originally handed over $30.

Where is the missing dollar?


  1. As a Reply to this page, write a brief and clear explanation for the “missing dollar.”
  2. Feel free to consult with your classmates.
  3. Complete your work by the end of class today.

32 Responses to Missing Dollar Paradox

  1. davidbdale says:

    You must have missed the first sentence, Cookie:

    Three ladies go to a restaurant for a meal. They receive a bill for $30. They each put $10 on the table,

  2. davidbdale says:

    Nicely described. 🙂

  3. davidbdale says:

    The waiter did not. The waiter has $2. The cashier has $25. The ladies got back $3. Equals $30.

  4. davidbdale says:

    The waiter did not. The waiter has $2. The cashier has $25. The ladies got back $3. Equals $30

  5. mochaatrain says:

    the ladies did not pay $9 dollars each because the actual cost of the meal was 25 dollars. So adding two dollars to the 27 shouldn’t apply necessarily because that $27 is already the amount paid plus the 2 dollars in the waiter’s pocket.

  6. xephos1 says:

    I think the missing dollar fell on the floor.

  7. The bill was only $25. The $27 already accounted for the $2 in the waiter’s pocket. The other $3 comes from the dollar handed back to them.

  8. peanut2348 says:

    I believe the missing dollar was possibly put into the opposite pocket or it was dropped

  9. I think it’s just in the way that it’s questioned. I can’t pinpoint where but you have to envision it as if they are paying 25 originally toward the bill and then giving the waiter 5. Then you see if the waiter is actually only paid 2 which brings you to 27 the girls get the three back which equals 30. It works once worded this way but doesn’t work that’s why but I don’t know why.

  10. gobirds17 says:

    The group paid the restaurant $25. $2 goes to the server as a tip and each women gets $1 back totaling $30.

  11. shxrkbait says:

    The ladies already paid $10 each or $30 altogether before the waiter found out the bill was revised. The ladies think they paid $9 each because the waiter kept the two other dollars which should’ve been divided by 3 to give the exact change back. The waiter received the $5 change gave back $3 change and kept $2 so the dollar is not missing.

  12. There is no missing dollars. If they each paid $9 than the cashier would have given two dollars back which the waiter put in his pocket. Yeah idk tbh

  13. beforeverge says:

    I think it has more to do with the $2 taken away then the $3 returned to the women, but I am not sure how. I am confused.

  14. Maybe the ladies dropped it

  15. giantsfan224 says:

    At first I thought it was just a mistake with the change and how much they were charged, but after it was discussed, it was just a matter of us thinking that there should be an extra dollar when there really shouldn’t be.

  16. When the waiter received the change, he got $5 back. He gave each lady $1 back and kept $2, which totals $5.

  17. oni says:

    There isn’t an extra dollar, since the ladies didn’t actually pay $9 each. The $2 that the server pocketed was from the original cost, not the revised. It’s hard to put into words honestly, but you’re basically double counting it if you add the $27 and $2.

  18. duck says:

    Since the waiter only took 2 dollars, only 2 of the women paid him, so the “missing” dollar is with the one woman who didn’t have her dollar stolen by the waiter. They paid $25 for the bill, $2 went to the waiter, $1 went to each of them, 25+2+1+1+1=30

  19. The ladies paid 10 dollars not 9 as the end of the riddle states, so the dollar is not missing.

  20. Gir says:

    There is no missing dollar, the bill was 25 plus the 2 that are in the waiters pocket. Then only three dollars would be given to the women.

  21. Honestly is makes no sense because since he had kept the two dollars it through everything off and there wouldn’t even be an even way to give 5 dollars to three people even if he tried to.

  22. fatboy489zt says:

    The bill was $25 and the ladies got paid $30. The change was $5 and the waiter kept $2 while giving back $3 so there is no missing dollar.

  23. hollyp715 says:

    There is no missing dollar. If there were three women who each paid $10 (total of $30), but the bill was actually $25, there would be $5 in change. If the server kept $2 and split the remaining $3 evenly between the women, each dollar was accounted for.

  24. oatmealvibes says:

    The ladies actually gave $10 each, not $9. So there is no missing dollar. It’s all accounted for. The waiter kept $2 out of $5 and the bill was $25 and they gave the waiter $30 so the last $3 go back to the ladies meaning there is no missing bill.

  25. There isn’t a mission dollar. Each lady paid $30 ($10 each), for a bill they did not know was actually $25. Their change, $5, was given to the waiter, who pocketed $2 and returned $3 to the women to make it “equal”. Each dollar is accounted for, though not for the women in the riddle.

  26. If you break down every dollar, 25 of them go to the cashier, while 3 are returned to the women, and 2 goes into the pocket of the waiter.

  27. pinkmonkey32 says:

    there is no missing dollar they all put in 10$ to equal 30. when 5 was taken out he gave 3$ back to them and kept 2 for himself. all 5$ are accounted for

  28. rowanluver29 says:

    When the waiter got $5, he kept $2 and gave them back $3. Which totals to 5, 5 +25 = $30 . There was no missing dollar … I’m assuming.

  29. giants19 says:

    If you break down every dollar, 25 goes to the cashier, 3 back to the women, and 2 go in the waiters pocket.

  30. gracchusbabeuf says:

    There is no missing dollar, but it sure seems like one has gone missing.
    The three women each pay 10 dollars towards the bill.
    The cashier returns 5 dollars to the server — the bill was actually only 25 dollars
    5+25 = 30 : All cash accounted for
    Now walking back to the table with the 5 dollars, the waiter pockets 2 dollars and returns 3 dollars to the table.
    2+3=5 : All cash accounted for
    The women divide the 3 dollars among themselves evenly
    1+1+1=3 : All cash accounted for

    By breaking it down, it is clear a dollar is not lost at any point. However, the three women, who initially paid 10 dollars each, had 1 dollar returned to them. This makes them all think they have paid 9 dollars. 9 x 3=27. The waiter only pocketed 2 dollars. I have no idea how to resolve this, but know that no money was lost along the way.

  31. The missing dollar is with the till because $30 were paid yet the bill was $25, so $5 were given back. Of those $5, $2 went to the irrational and greedy waiter and $3 went back to the ladies.

  32. queenrandom04 says:

    There isn’t a missing dollar. They gave the waiter $30 and the cashier took 25. The cashier gave the waiter 5 back the waiter took 2 and handed each woman one dollar. In total that equals $30.

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