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A woman is buying many coconuts for 5\$ a dozen. Afterwards, she is selling the coconuts for 3\$ a dozen.

After this transaction, the woman has become a millionaire!

How could that happen?


Hint:

This is a lateral thinking riddle :-) Try to become aware of your silent assumptions. List all the aspects you are assuming, and question them.


Source: I found this riddle on the webpage of Jürgen Stock.

However I think this riddle is widely known in the Lateral Thinking community. I share it because it hit me where I found it amazingly difficult to become aware.

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  • $\begingroup$ Even though there is a well known intended answer, I'm voting to close as too broad as theres a lot of viable alternatives. She could have won the lottery, been donated the money, earnt it as another part of a business, there could have been a large shipping fee etc. $\endgroup$ – Beastly Gerbil Sep 3 at 15:31
  • $\begingroup$ @BeastlyGerbil Yeah, I see this seems too easy and too wellknown. Ok, go on and close it; at least I've learnt something about posting puzzles. $\endgroup$ – peter_the_oak Sep 3 at 15:37
  • $\begingroup$ I think the issue isn't that it's too easy, but that there are too many alternate solutions. Easy puzzles are perfectly fine! But when there are a lot of answers, and answers are open to a lot of interpretation, that means it's not a great fit for Puzzling. (We like having a single definitive answer to questions, so the site functions as an archive of good puzzles and their answers.) $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Sep 3 at 15:40
  • $\begingroup$ @Deuvosi thank you for your explanation. In my understanding of lateral thinking puzzles, this is the very challenge. There seem to be many solutions, so I feel lost. But only one solution is perfectly matching. All the examples Beastly Gerbil has mentioned require the setting to be creatively enhanced, e.g. a lottery game was played before. The intended solution however does not require to enhance the setting itself. Rubio here describes this by "When you see the right answer you know it is the right answer". $\endgroup$ – peter_the_oak Sep 3 at 16:06
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Maybe

the woman was initially a billionaire but wasted all her money and became a millionaire.

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This is a well known puzzle with a simple answer

She was a Billionaire before

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  • $\begingroup$ BOOM! 5 seconds! $\endgroup$ – Voldemort's Wrath Sep 3 at 15:29
  • $\begingroup$ rot13(V xabj guvf vf gur bssvpvny nafjre, ohg vg qbrfa'g ubyq hc irel jryy. Fur jbhyq unir gb fryy arneyl fvk ovyyvba pbpbahgf gb ybfr guvf zhpu zbarl guvf jnl. Vs fur pbhyq fryy 10,000 n qnl, vg jbhyq gnxr ure 1,600 lrnef. Vg frrzf sne, sne zber cynhfvoyr sbe ure gb fvzcyl unir jba gur ybggrel, be gb unir znqr gur zvyyvba guebhtu fbzr bgure aba-pbpbahg-eryngrq zrnaf.) $\endgroup$ – plasticinsect Sep 3 at 16:31
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    $\begingroup$ @plasticinsect — assume she had rot13(rknpgyl 1 ovyyvba qbyynef orsber) and then bought and sold exactly one dozen coconuts. $\endgroup$ – El-Guest Sep 3 at 16:33
  • $\begingroup$ This requires either that "millionaire" not be a subset of "billionaire" or "continue being" be a subset of "become". $\endgroup$ – Acccumulation Sep 11 at 1:19
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Perhaps

She became a millionaire from activities not involving coconuts?

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