Three contractors are bidding to fix a broken fence at the Rhode Island State house in Providence, one from Cranston, and another from North Kingstown and the third, Exeter. They go with a State house official to examine the fence.
The North Kingstown 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 Exeter 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 Cranston contractor doesn't measure or figure, but leans over to the State 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 Cranston contractor whispers back, "$1,000 for me, $1,000 for you, and we hire the guy from Exeter to fix the fence."