Three contractors are bidding to fix a broken fence at the White House in D.C.; one from New Jersey , another from Tennessee and the third, from Florida. They go with a White House official to examine the fence.
The Florida contractor takes out a tape measure and does some measuring, then works some figures with a pencil. ‘Well’, he says, ‘I figure the job will run about $900: $400 for materials, $400 for my crew and $100 profit for me.’
The Tennessee contractor also does some measuring and figuring, then says, ‘I can do this job for $700: $300 for materials, $300 for my crew and $100 profit for me.’
The New Jersey contractor doesn’t measure or figure, but leans over to the White House official and whispers, ‘$2,700’.
The official, incredulous, says, ‘You didn’t even measure like the other guys! How did you come up with such a high figure?’
The New Jersey contractor whispers back, ‘$1000 for me, $1000 for you, and we hire the guy from Tennessee to fix the fence.’
‘Done!’ replies the government official. And that friends, is how it all works!