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The Fifty Grand Chalk Mark

An engineer retired after 30 years service with a large machining company. Always trusted to know how to fix a problem he had saved this firm many millions of pounds by fixing all manner of machinery woes.

After such sterling service, he is a bit miffed that all he got was a gold plated watch and a stupid framed photo of him and some faceless member of the board presenting the cheap thing to him. Oh well, he shrugged as he oft thought about it, that’s how life goes. And mine sure went.

A couple of years go by and the company has a problem with one of their very expensive machines. No-one at the plant can figure it out at all, and it’s looking increasingly likely that they are going to have to bring in very expensive outside assistance, until one of the bosses suggests they call up old dependable Jimmy again and ask him if he’ll take an hour or two out of retirement to help them locate the problem.

He isn’t best pleased but says he’ll only agree if they honor an invoice. They say sure! Old Jimmy would never ask for a lot. They were quite certain, especially as he never grumbled about his below-par wages ever!

After only ten minutes of inspecting the machine, Jimmy gives a grunt of satisfaction. He takes a piece of chalk and makes across at a particular bit of the machinery.

“That’s where the problem lies,” says Jimmy and proceeds to write out an invoice. “Now, write me a cheque for £50,000, or I won’t tell you just how to fix it.”

The big bossman nearly faints at this “Fifty grand for ten minutes work and making a chalk mark?” he splutters.

Jimmy smiles and hands him the invoice. On it he has written:

Time: 99p
Chalk mark: 1p
Knowing where to put it: £49,999

Two hours off

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