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Stupid interview question, courtesy of Wendy's

My Wendy's bag says, "We figured out that there are 256 ways to personalize a Wendy's hamburger. Luckily someone was paying attention in math class."

My brain immediately added, "How many burger options does that mean Wendy's has?" And then I thought, "Hey, that sounds like a stupid interview question!"

I wouldn't ask it, but if you like questions like that, well, you're welcome.
Just back from lunch
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
 
 
mmm, i could use a baconator right about now.
Preparation DHH
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
 
 
8 options if all are on or off.  However, some options may have more than two settings and other choices may be dependant on other settings, so I can't make a better guess.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008
 
 
I don't get it. This is just a combinatorial problem right? How the hell do you get 256 possibilities?

5 hamburger options get you 120 combinations and 6 get you 720 combinations. So how did they come up with 256?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008
 
 
FAIL!







Sorry.
Drew Kime Send private email
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
 
 
>>5 hamburger options get you 120 combinations and 6 get you 720 combinations. So how did they come up with 256?<<

You're taking straight factorials there.  The formula for (n choose r) is n!/(r!*(n-r)!).  So you just add up 8 choose 1, 8 choose 2,...,8 choose 8, plus 1 for straight burger.

Or, you can do this the clever way and just treat it as a series of binary flags, in which case it's just 2^8.  But as was pointed out, we don't know for sure that these are strictly binary choices.
Justice Walker
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
 
 
The ordering of the ingrediants doesn't matter.  So in the simple case it can be viewed as binary.  Or as:

options = sum C(8,i), i = 0 -> 8

Wednesday, March 19, 2008
 
 
http://wendys.com/food/Nutrition.jsp?personalize=1

American cheese slice
cheese sauce
bacon
mayonnaise
ketchup
mustard
honey mustard sauce
pickles
onion
tomato
lettuce

That's actually 11 options. I'll assume the cheese sauce and honey mustard sauce are usually only for the chicken sandwiches. They're still off by one.



Man, I'm such a geek.
Drew Kime Send private email
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
 
 
>> options = sum C(8,i), i = 0 -> 8

You're hired, when can you start?
TravisO Send private email
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
 
 
"I don't get it. This is just a combinatorial problem right? How the hell do you get 256 possibilities?"


They're using an old 8-bit Atari to play the Hamburger Combination Game?
The Original Henry
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
 
 
I felt like I was in a stupid interview this weekend in the emergency room.  The nurse asked me "On a scale of 1 to 10, would you rate your pain as 0?"

I told her 'No' and she wanted to know what was still hurting.  I told her 'Nothing is hurting, 0 isn't in the range of choices you gave me.'

She got a really pissy look on her face.  I probably wouldn't have been hired by her.
Tim Brewington
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
 
 
Drew,

Is bacon an option at Wendy's because as I recall you usually order a bacon specific burger (Big bacon Classic, Baconator, etc). If that's the case and you also remove bacon then that leaves you eight standalone options which fits the answer.
Gerald
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
 
 
Which isn't strictly correct because the bun is an option on the sandwhich.  As is the burger.  Though some fast-food resturants charge less for the burgerless burger.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008
 
 
Drew:

>>> They're still off by one.

No they're not, because they're talking about options for a hamburger, which is a different menu item than a cheeseburger.  There are eight choices for a hamburger.
D.W. Send private email
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
 
 
D.W:  Would you consider a hamburger with cheese sauce still and hamburger and not a cheese burger?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008
 
 
Would like fries with that?

Just practicising.
SpamAndHam
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
 
 
To prove what a geek I am, I puzzled this question as I ate my lunch the other day. The obvious answer is 8 binary choices, but were there other possibilities? Since you can only arrive at 256 by multiplying 2's, it simplifies things. My conclusion was that you could have 8 items with 2 choices each (yes or no), 4 items with 4 choices each (i.e. no ketchup, light ketchup, normal ketchup, heavy ketchup), or 2 items with 16 choices each. More generally, 8 1-bit values, 4 2-bit values, or 2 4-bit values. I suppose you could mix 1-bit and 2-bit choices if you want, as long as it totals to 8 bits. The one thing you can't get is a 3-choice option, because 256 doesn't divide by 3 (or any other prime number other than 2).
Mark Ransom Send private email
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
 
 
> I told her 'No'

LOL!
Christopher Wells Send private email
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
 
 
>> Would you consider a hamburger with cheese sauce still and hamburger and not a cheese burger?

I have ordered on multiple occasions "Single with Cheese, Ketchup & Mustard Only" from Wendy's.

More than 50% of the time I have received the burger sans cheese with ketchup and mustard.

In short I don't know the answer to *your* question specifically, but apparently to them a cheeseburger without cheese is still a cheeseburger.
Pseudo Masochist Send private email
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
 
 
The real trick is mastering drive-though intercom mumbling.
So tired
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
 
 
Sounds like the famous "LUNCH AT HEWLETT-PACKARD" http://www.noyou.net/jokes/hpcafe.html
Martin Send private email
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
 
 
Wendy's? Big deal. How about figuring out Sonic's claims of 168,894 drink combinations.
CodeClarity
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
 
 
I want onion on there 4 times though...
J Phillips Send private email
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
 
 
"I felt like I was in a stupid interview this weekend in the emergency room.  The nurse asked me "On a scale of 1 to 10, would you rate your pain as 0?"

The nurse was right since zero would mean "no pain at all".

Or she could just ask you whether you were in pain or not :-)
darkt
Thursday, March 20, 2008
 
 
"The nurse was right since zero would mean "no pain at all". "

No. On a scale from 1 to 10, 1 must mean no pain at all (or 10, if the scale is reversed). But never 0.

It's like on IMDB. No matter how much you hate a film you can't give it a 0; just a 1.
Daniel
Thursday, March 20, 2008
 
 
Re: Hamburger vs. cheeseburger

Most fast food restaurants consider those to be separate menu items.  As in, they're separate buttons on the cash register.  So, a hamburger with cheese sauce (or a slice of cheese) would be rang up as a cheeseburger.

Note: I'm speaking from very outdated experience working at McDonald's, not Wendys.  There may have been vast changes in fast food menus since then.
D.W. Send private email
Thursday, March 20, 2008
 
 
Heh, whenever I eat at McDonalds, I want two hamburgers, fries, and a drink...

Well, they have a 2 chesseburger combo meal, but no hamburger combo meal... so I always order the cheeseburger combo meal, but ask to have to hamburgers instead...

About 50% of the time, the kid behind the counter says they can't ring it up that way... So I tell them, okay instead of hamburgers, I want cheeseburgers, but hold the cheese...

And they can get that to work...
RRR
Thursday, March 20, 2008
 
 
"No. On a scale from 1 to 10, 1 must mean no pain at all"

That would be a valid definition was it agreed upon. OTOH by assigning a rate to pain it "must" be assumed that someone is in pain in the first place.
darkt
Thursday, March 20, 2008
 
 
<<<How the hell do you get 256 possibilities?

5 hamburger options get you 120 combinations and 6 get you 720 combinations. So how did they come up with 256?>>>

I agree! Even if it were a programmer type who was playing off of the words there.....it would still be correct...

The first thing I thought of when I read the number 256 was that it's an error on the BYTE datatype....0-255 only!

It's not even a funny play on technology~!
Brice Richard Send private email
Thursday, March 20, 2008
 
 
There used to be a song on the jukebox at Waffle House claiming there were over 11 million ways to customize a WH burger. Of course, at WH there are salsa, steak sauces, Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper on the table. They included those. And the I think the chorus listed something about hash browns vs. no hash browns. Since there 9 different additives to the hash browns ALONE (and they are not binary choices), this got us to a combinatorial explosion that could be heard all the way to the North Pole.

Thursday, March 20, 2008
 
 
I've not experienced what the OP has suggested, BUT, I have experienced something similar when it comes to providing reports for someone....

Essentially, I've learned to abide by the self-proclaimed PARADOX OF DATA....which essentially states that the integrity of data is more important than the data itself....

In other words, if you provide a report of 1,000 records in a nice format for someone and even ONE part of a data record is known to be incorrect, your entire report is invalidated....whether the remaining data is correct or not is immaterial......that's what I call the Paradox of Data.....

I've learned to take reports so seriously that the granularity with which I work to ensure the data integrity of reports is nothing short of intense to say the least...
Brice Richard Send private email
Thursday, March 20, 2008
 
 
"I felt like I was in a stupid interview this weekend in the emergency room.  The nurse asked me "On a scale of 1 to 10, would you rate your pain as 0?""

LOL !
Nursing attracts a large number of semi-functional retards.
Rete Mirab Send private email
Saturday, March 22, 2008
 
 
Speaking of ranges like 1-10...

A pizza buffet place I was at with my 2 1/2 year old kid had prices listed somewhat like this:
  1-2 free
  3-4 $2
I'm thinking "where does he fit???? There's a whole year missing between 2 and 3 !!!"

(I do realize that he was actually free)..

Do other programmers look at that and think there's a year unaccounted for?
John Slagel Send private email
Saturday, March 29, 2008
 
 
Just typecast to an int, and you'll be fine.
Mark Ransom Send private email
Saturday, March 29, 2008
 
 

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