Three contractors are bidding to fix a broken fence at the White House in
D.C.; one from Indiana, another from Illinois, and the third from Ohio. They go with a White House official to examine the fence.
The Ohio 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 Indiana 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 Illinois 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 Illinois contractor whispers back, "$1000 for me, $1000 for you, and we hire the guy from Indiana to fix the fence."
"Done!" replies the government official.
And that, friends, is how it all works!