Three English people with a slightly above average education today struggled to come to terms with the shrinking of the UK economy in the third quarter, not realising that the British economy had not in fact shrunk by three quarters. After seeing a small headline in the local paper, the three university undergraduates had to be instructed by a slightly more intelligent German colleague about what the headline actually meant.
Matthias Kohl, originally from Dusseldorf, spent some ten minutes explaining to fellow media studies students at Hull University that although the economy had contracted, it had not contracted by three quarters, but that the “third quarter” of the headline in fact referred to “the third quarter of the year”.
Matthias then pulled out a calendar chart to describe how the quarters worked. However, as he later said, his explanation fell on deaf ears as those who listened began to realise that he was “in over his head”. The article outlined how gross domestic product in the UK had fallen by 0.6 per cent in the three months to October.
When one of his English colleagues asked what gross domestic product was, Matthias tried to explain, but found himself adding “To be honest with you, I’m not sure if that’s right because I only know this in German.”
The three English students then became rather more dismissive of Matthias than they had been previously. One of them, nineteen year old Alyssa Newsome, declared “You’re not so much of a brain box after all.”
Matthias then became so incensed at their reaction that he excused himself to go to the library, whereupon he was chastised by the group before his departure and bitched about after he’d left them. Matthias is planning on returning to Germany on Christmas Eve, when he intends to tell his family exactly how innumerate his fellow students are.
“I’ve compiled so many instances of their stupidity and typed them up into my Smart Handy that I’m pretty sure Christmas dinner will be a laugh riot,” he told this correspondent.