Monday, 30 May 2011

The Boots Are Procured

(being a short instructive fable on the perils of outsourcing)

There was an army who had to march to a battle far away. It was a very important battle and there was a very long way to go. And knowing that they would have to march so far, The General of the army went to a Shoemaker to get good boots.
“I need 1000 pairs of boots.” said The General.
“Certainly.” said The Shoemaker. “What kind of boots?”
“Don’t know.” said The General. “But they must be very good boots…we have a long way to go.”
“Oookay.” said The Shoemaker, because The Customer is always right.
“What sizes of boots?”
“Don’t know.” said The General.
“Okay.” said The Shoemaker, a little confused. “How much do you want to spend on the boots?”
“I can’t tell you that.” said The General. “Just tell me roughly what you think would be best. After all, you know more about shoes than I do. I’ll be back tomorrow.”
And The General left, leaving The Shoemaker shaking his head.
The next day, The General returned to The Shoemaker’s shop.
“How much will the boots cost?” he asked.
“Well.” said the Shoemaker. “The boots you would need for such a long march will cost one sovereign each pair.”
“One sovereign!” cried The General. “I have a thousand men to buy boots for! The King has given me five hundred sovereigns for boots. What can you give me for that?”
The Shoemaker thought and then said,
“I can give you one thousand pairs of cheaper boots, but these may not last the march.”
“No good.” said The General.
“Okay.” said The Shoemaker, “I can give you five hundred pairs of the good boots, but then only five hundred men will be able to march.”
“No good.” said The General. And he scowled and thought for a moment. And then he smiled.
“Give me the five hundred pairs and I shall give each of the men one boot for the march.”
“But,” said The Shoemaker “they will not be able to march properly.”
“Five hundred pairs immediately!” commanded The General.
The Shoemaker sighed, because The customer is always right, and he gave The General the boots.
The poor army limped towards battle and to no ones surprise but The General’s, they lost.
The very next day The Shoemaker was executed for selling The General bad boots.
The Customer, is not always right…

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