Exercise 5.2.4

Use indicator random variables to solve the following problem, which is known as the hat-check problem. Each of $n$ customer gives a hat to a hat-check person at a restaurant. The hat-check person gives the hats back to the customers in a random order. What is the expected number of customers who get back their hat?

The probability that each person gets their hat back is $1/n$. Let $X_i$ be the event that the $i$th person gets their hat back. Thus:

$$ \E[X] = \E[X_1 + X_2 + \ldots + X_n] = \sum_{i=1}^n \E[X_i] = \sum_{i=1}^n \frac{1}{n} = 1 $$


One person will get their hat back. I'm surprised too.