Knowing Where To Hit

I just came across this story, used by ‘consultants’ to justify their prices, when such rates are seen as exorbitant by buyers and much coughing and spluttering ensues.

You can dress this up in all sorts of ways to suit your trade, but in essence it goes something like this:

A vital machine stops working.  Output grinds to a standstill.  The boss calls someone in to fix it.  They arrive, an air of panic engulfs the room.  The fixer walks around the machine for a while, does various checking of gauges and valves.  Then they take a hammer, and lightly tap the machine in a certain place.  The machine humms back into life.

So far so good.  The boss asks for the bill.  The fixer scribbles a note.  The boss goes apoplectic.  “$1,000 – for what?”  So the fixer takes the bill and writes an itemised one out too:

hitting with hammer – $5
knowing where to hit – $995

And the job’s a good’un!

update: I’ve also discovered a similar tale concerning an ageing Picasso.  Apparently he was once asked how he felt about a 45-second doodle he’d just scribbled could be worth millions.  His response was simple.  It hadn’t taken him a mere 45 seconds.  It was, in fact, 82 years in the making.

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