Ask him to send us an itemised bill

ship-engine-repair-workman-tap-bill

A ship engine had broken down and no one could fix it.

They called in one expert after another, but none of them could figure out how to fix the engine. So they finally brought in an old man who had been fixing ship engines since he was a youngster.

The old workman inspected the engine very carefully and very patiently from top to bottom while the anxious owner waited impatiently urging him to find a solution as quickly as possible.

Finally, after looking things over for a few minutes, the old man reached into his bag and pulled out a small hammer. He gently tapped something and, lo and behold, the engine instantly lurched into life. The problem was fixed!

The workman carefully put his hammer away, shook hands with the jubilant owner and left.

A week later, the owner received a bill from the old man for £10,000.

‘What?!’ the owner told his secretary, ‘Ten thousand pounds?! He hardly did anything! Ask him to send us an itemised bill.”

And a couple of days later, the new bill arrived in the post.

It simply read:

Tapping with a hammer: £2
Knowing where to tap: £9,998
Total: £10,000

The moral of the story:
Never underestimate the value of experience and know-how! :-)

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Reza K
Explorer
Active Learner
Learner
7 years ago

That was hilarious. I recall this guy who came for his son’s appointment. After I was done with the exam, the front desk gave him the quote for the procedure required and the man was almost pissed off. He gave me a hard look and said: “How long does this procedure take?” , “15 minutes”, I replied. He looked at me sternly and said: “You charge $$$ for 15 minutes?”. Well, it was not the first time I was asked that question, so it didn’t take me that long to come up with an answer: “No I charge $$$ for… Read more »

Blandine L
Senior
Active Learner
Learner
7 years ago

Excellent! I love this story which illustrates perfectly that sometimes we have to pay a lot for little things because we haven’t the know-how.

Azadeh H
Settler
Active Learner
Learner
7 years ago

Recently an application has been developed in our company to document the know-how exists among senior employees who are about to retire from the company.

And today I found this in Wikipedia:

Know-how is often tacit knowledge, which means that it is difficult to transfer to another person by means of writing it down or verbalising it.

Which drove me to despair.

Karin W
Newbie
Learner
7 years ago

I like this story, even if I would not appreciate to have the bill ! Of course experience is important, but for me the good morality is to stay correct in the prices

Alexis D
Newbie
Learner
3 years ago

Web Developers can have the same problem too. A lot of people think it’s easy to develop a website but reality is different. Companies are often surprised to receive a bill for 5000$ just for a website.

Juliette C
Rookie
Learner
3 years ago

We must not forget the value and the skills of each of us!

Nathalie V
Explorer
Learner
Active Learner
3 years ago

I think we should never underestimate the experience which is very important in life to give and share it with others. Know-how doesn’t have a price because it’s exceptional and without that we cannot go forward. We need each other to learn from our mistakes.
Also, the owner of the machine didn’t realize that he needed the old man’s know-how to be able to continue working because he was the only one to know how to fix it. If the engine hadn’t been fixed, his company could have gone bankrupt…

Nathalie V
Reply to  Nathalie V
3 years ago

I think I should have written “The value of experience” and “it”.

Alexis L
Newbie
Learner
3 years ago

The end makes me think about some similars exemples I had! Obviously, the owner underestimate the experience of the old man. He should rather thank him for being the only one to have succeeded in finding the solution!

Alexis L
Reply to  Alexis L
3 years ago

The end makes me think about some similar examples I had! Obviously, the owner underestimated the experience of the old man. He should rather thank him for being the only one to have succeeded in finding the solution!

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