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, “$1,000 for me, $1,000 for you, and we hire the guy from Tennessee to fix the fence.”
“Done!” replies the government official.