Three contractors are bidding to fix a broken wall at 10 Downing Street: one from London, another from Bristol and the third from Liverpool. They go with a government official to examine the wall.
The London 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 Bristol contractor also does some measuring and figuring, and then says, “I can do this job for £700: £300 for materials, £300 for my crew and £100 profit for me.”
The Liverpool contractor doesn’t measure or figure but leans over to the Government official and whispers, “£2,700.” The official, incredulous, says, “You didn’t even measure like the others! How did you come up with such a high figure?” The Liverpool contractor whispers back “£1000 for me, £1000 for you, and we hire the guy from Bristol to fix the wall.” “Done!” replies the government official.
And that, friends, is how it all works.