One fine day, there was a shepherd working in the fields. As he herded his sheep and enjoyed the sunshine he felt contented and pondered on just how fortunate he was. As he gained satisfaction from his work he was surprised to note the shiny BMW that had just driven into his field. To his bewilderment, out stepped a smartly dressed gentleman who greeted him with a warm enthusiastic tone:
“Good morning, Farmer Giles! What a fine day it is!”
Not wishing to appear impolite, Farmer Giles replied in kind “Hello sir, what can I do for you?”
“Well” replied the newly arrived stranger “I thought there might be something I could do for you. It occurs to me that you might like me to help tell you exactly how many sheep you have in your field. In return, all that I ask is that I could have just one of those sheep for myself.”
More out of curiosity than any genuine need, Farmer Giles agreed to this offer. He waited with interest to see how a city gent could possibly set about such a task.
The man proceeded to take a tiny laptop from his car, hook up via his satellite phone to a passing spy satellite, photograph the field from 100 miles above the planet, run a piece of image recognition software and, within minutes, return with the answer…..
“Mr Giles, you have 1,586 sheep in this field. Is that correct?”
Mildly impressed by the clever use of technology, he agreed that there were, indeed, 1,586 sheep. By now, Giles was feeling a little dazed and confused as he watched our mystery caller take his fee and place one of the animals in the back seat of the car. But, then, a flash of inspiration prompted him to propose the following:
“Sir, may I have an opportunity to recover what I have just lost? If I can tell you what job you do, will you return it to me?”
“Certainly, what do you think I do?”
“You are a consultant” said Giles triumphantly.
Crestfallen, our BMW man reluctantly admits that he is, in fact, a consultant. “But how did you know?” he challenges.
“Easy!” says Giles “Firstly, you arrived here unannounced and without an appointment. Secondly, you answered a question that I didn’t ask. Thirdly, it was a question to which I already knew the answer. Fourthly, you had the audacity to charge me for the privilege and, finally, you still know absolutely nothing about my business……..
Now, give me back my dog!”