This is an accounting puzzle that anyone who has the slightest idea of the principles that govern profits and benefits can solve it in a heartbeat.

I explain it to you because it is based on a fact that actually happened, where all the parties had different opinions and I had to act as an arbitrator. So I thought it was an excellent material for a puzzle.

It is said that in a very pious New Hampshire town they hired an agent to be the only one authorized to sell liquor for a year. They gave him $ 12 in advance in cash, and liquors worth $ 59.50 at cost. At the end of the year, the agent declared extra purchases of liquor worth $ 283.50 and sold liquor worth $ 285.80, also receiving a commission of 5% instead of a salary.

The illustration shows the agent with the village committee counting the stock, with each product marked with the sale price.

**How much profit did the people get from the sale of the liquor?** This includes determining the agent's commission.

#### Solution

The agent started with $ 12 in cash and $ 59.50 in liquor. Buying $ 283.50 in liquor increased its stock to $ 343 (cost price). On this price he applied 10% giving him a sale price of $ 377.30. It sold $ 285.80, and was left with $ 91.50 unsold, as you can see in the illustration. These $ 91.50 would have a cost price of $ 83.18.

If we subtract this sum of $ 343 (the cost value of the entire stock), we will have $ 259.82 corresponding to the cost of the liquor it sold.

If we subtract this figure from the value of sales ($ 285.80) we will have to **the benefit that the people obtained from liquor sales was $ 25.98**.

$ 25.98 profit plus $ 12 advanced at the beginning plus $ 59.50 of liquor = $ 98.48.

If we subtract the agent commission from $ 14.29, we have $ 83.19 left, which is the cost value of the remaining liquor.

That is, the agent was only wrong for two cents.