Monday, 2 July 2007

Warehouse Woes

Industrialist: “Hello there, Gary. Welcome to our new warehouse.”
Shareholder Gary: “Thank you, Mr. Hayward.” (looking at the warehouse with awe) “Wow! This one’s really huge.”
Industrialist: “Oh yes! It’s pretty big alright.”
Shareholder: “What size is it?”
Industrialist: “Have you ever been in a double-decker bus, Gary?”
Shareholder: “Just once. Why?”
Industrialist: “Because in this warehouse, you could fit 847 double-decker buses.”
Shareholder (thinks for a moment): “But can’t you tell me the dimensions in metres?”
Industrialist: “Oh no, Gary. Metre is passé. No one really uses it anymore.”
Shareholder: “But it is convenient!”
Industrialist: “Convenient? The metric system was invented by the French to confuse and take over the world, Gary.”
Shareholder: “Oh really?”
Industrialist: “Yes, Gary. Nowadays we use a measuring system which is easier to understand. The units used are ‘the double-decker buses’, ‘the size of a football field’, ‘the area the size of Wales’ and what we call, ‘to the moon and back’.”
Shareholder: “Oh, I see.”
Industrialist: “So, do you play football, Gary?”
Shareholder: “A bit, yes.”
Industrialist: “Well then, can you imagine 38 and a half football fields side by side?”
Shareholder (after a longish pause): “No, not really.”
Industrialist: “Okay, can you imagine a football field, a big one, the size of this warehouse?”
Shareholder (brightening up): “Yeah, that I can.”
Industrialist: “Well, that’s the kind of size we’re talking about for this warehouse.”
Shareholder: “I see. Now, can you show me the figures, Mr. Hayward?”
Industrialist: “Figures? What figures?”
Shareholder: “The annual turnover of your industry, the sales and other such figures.”
Industrialist: “Oh! Those! Well, I won’t be showing you figures…”
Shareholder (cutting in): “No, but surely as a shareholder of your industry…”
Industrialist (cutting in): “No no no…”
Shareholder (cutting in): “But it’s it in the rules that…”
Industrialist (cutting in): “No, Gary, you’re not listening to me. You’re just hearing the words I’m saying.”
Shareholder (flummoxed): “What?”
Industrialist: “See! That’s what I meant. I’m not going to show you the figures. I’m going to show you a figure.”
Shareholder (curious):A figure?”
Industrialist: “Yes, a figure. I put in our annual turnover against our yearly expenditure and you know what figure cropped out, Gary?”
Shareholder: “No, what?”
Industrialist (showing a piece of paper): “This.”
Shareholder (surprised): “Seven!”
Industrialist (calmly): “Seven.”
Shareholder: “Exactly Seven!”
Industrialist: “Precise to the nearest significant digit.”
Shareholder: “But what does it mean?”
Industrialist: “I couldn’t tell you, Gary. But last year, it was six. So we must be doing something right.”

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