Help! My car is allergic to vanilla ice cream. The complete story

The following is a real complaint received by a high ranking executive of a well-known major automobile manufacturer:

“This is the second time I have written you, and I don’t blame you for not answering me, because I kind of sounded crazy, but it is a fact that we have a tradition in our family of ice-cream for dessert after dinner each night and I will drive down to the store to get it.

It’s also a fact that I recently purchased one of your new automobiles and since then my trips to the store have created a problem. You see, every time I buy vanilla ice-cream, when I start back from the store my car won’t start. If I get any other kind of ice-cream, the car starts just fine. I want you to know I’m serious about this question, no matter how silly it sounds: ‘What is it about this car that makes it not start when I get vanilla ice-cream, and easy to start whenever I get any other kind?”

An engineer was sent to check out the case. He was surprised to be greeted by a successful, obviously well-educated man in a fine neighbourhood. He had arranged to meet the man just after dinner time, so the two hopped into the car and drove to the ice-cream store. It was vanilla ice-cream that night and, sure enough, after they came back to the car, it wouldn’t start!

Now the engineer, being a logical man, refused to believe that this man’s car was allergic to vanilla ice-cream. He began to take notes: he jotted down all sorts of data, time of day, type of gas used, time to drive back and forth, etc.

  • What questions will you ask to uncover the truth about the car’s allergy to vanilla ice-cream?

  • What possible causes can you think of?

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