A man walked into a store and spoke abruptly, "I need four apples, three eggs, a broom, a dustpan and well ... I suppose we need don't need any flour."

After a pause to regard the new man, the shopkeeper replied, "The storm last night turned my world upside down. Much of my stock has been ruined." He paused a moment to look around. "We have no apples ... only one unbroken egg, one remaining broom, three dustpans and four bags of flour, though you don't need any of those."

The point of this story is plain to hear, if you have eyes to see. Taste and touch won't help you now, no matter how you plead. Tell me now and feel free to explore, what should the man have said at the door?

  • 36
    $\begingroup$ "Wow, what happened here? Do you need any help?" $\endgroup$ Commented May 13, 2016 at 15:39
  • $\begingroup$ @Khale_Kitha That indeed would have been a good thing to ask, but that is not the answer. Bonus points for creativity, though. $\endgroup$
    – Aterxerxes
    Commented May 13, 2016 at 15:42
  • 8
    $\begingroup$ Nothing, doors can't talk so why say anything at it? $\endgroup$ Commented May 13, 2016 at 15:43
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ "Is your world upside down? It looks like your world is upside down." $\endgroup$
    – Matt
    Commented May 13, 2016 at 15:45
  • $\begingroup$ @GordonAllocman Creative answer, but no. $\endgroup$
    – Aterxerxes
    Commented May 13, 2016 at 15:52

4 Answers 4


He should have said


He asked for
4 Apples, 3 Eggs, 1 Broom, 1 dustpan and 0 flour

43ll0 - looks like "hello" in numbers

The shopkeeper replied with 0 apples, 1 egg, 1 broom, 3 dustpans, and 4 bags for flour

0ll34, but his world was upside down.

  • $\begingroup$ Well done! I was worried that I had made it a little too abstract. $\endgroup$
    – Aterxerxes
    Commented May 13, 2016 at 18:41
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I think saying '4' looks like an 'h' is a bit of a stretch. It does while upside down, but I've never seen anyone use it that way rightside up. $\endgroup$
    – Set Big O
    Commented May 14, 2016 at 4:38
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @SetBigO and '3' looks like 'E', but only backwards. Can you still see what it is intended to represent? $\endgroup$
    – user2174
    Commented May 14, 2016 at 8:17
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ If you take the numbers 01134 and type them into a physical calculator, then turn it upside-down, then it does look most like "Hello". That, is what was meant by "The storm last night turned my world upside down." It was a hint that the numbers would need to be turned upside-down to view the solution. However, the correct answer is "Hello", and this correctly makes the correlation between numbers and the word "Hello". Also, in L33t Sp34k, (perhaps only in certain circles, but nonetheless...) Both the 3 and the 4 can be an 'E' and an 'H', respectively. $\endgroup$
    – Aterxerxes
    Commented May 16, 2016 at 13:47

He should have said:

"I don't need any apples, I need one egg, a broom, three dustpans and well ... I suppose I need four bags of flour."


Because the store owner said he had the numbers of the needed items in reverse. The man didn't need any flour, but needed four apples. The shop owner had the switch of those. He needed three eggs, and one dustpan, but the store owner said he had three dustpans and only one egg. The broom was in the middle so it stayed the same.

In short we could say:

The man should have asked for exactly what the store owner said he had, because then he would have received the numbers reversed. His world is upside down.

  • $\begingroup$ I have to re-read this a few times to get it, but it makes sense. Though I don't really understand why he would say that he needs something that he doesn't, just because the store has different items. If I have a recipe, the store's contents don't change it. I think I'm missing something. $\endgroup$ Commented May 13, 2016 at 16:41
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Khale_Kitha The idea is that everything is switched. So, ask for things backwards. $\endgroup$
    – Aggie Kidd
    Commented May 13, 2016 at 16:42
  • $\begingroup$ My head refuses to understand. Good job, nonetheless, assuming this is correct. $\endgroup$ Commented May 13, 2016 at 16:43
  • $\begingroup$ This is very well thought out, but it is not the correct solution. $\endgroup$
    – Aterxerxes
    Commented May 13, 2016 at 17:08

He should have said:



Common courtesy is the only thing that matters here, either the store has the items he needs or it doesn't. It doesn't matter what he says because it wont change the stock.

I like @snowmom475's answer better.

  • $\begingroup$ @snowmom475 gave the correct reasoning behind the answer. Though this does take the thought process a bit further and I can definitely appreciate that. $\endgroup$
    – Aterxerxes
    Commented May 13, 2016 at 18:53
  • $\begingroup$ This answer reminds me of an answer I wrote once: puzzling.stackexchange.com/a/13091/2812 $\endgroup$
    – corsiKa
    Commented May 13, 2016 at 21:10
  • $\begingroup$ +1 for the reason; the puzzle itself makes little sense to me. $\endgroup$
    – Wildcard
    Commented May 14, 2016 at 2:36

He should have said:

We need four apples, three egg cartons, a broom, a dustpan and well... I suppose we don't need any flour.


The man was making a remark about the status of the destroyed store and saying what it needed to restock after the storm. Of course, this is assuming that "eggs" means egg cartons.

  • $\begingroup$ Excuse me, why am I receiving a downvote for a question that isn't even finished? You cannot access the full editor without posting first. That is not my problem. $\endgroup$
    – user64742
    Commented May 14, 2016 at 19:33

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