I present to groups of purchasers on a fairly regular basis. I’ve taken to asking for a show of hands: “Tell me if you’ve evaluated proposals in the past six months for a particular purchasing project.” Ninety per cent of hands go up.
“Keep your hands up if the longest proposal won the deal.” Like a flash: not a hand left in the air.
I’m reminded of Ambrose Bierce’s wonderful phrase, “The covers of this book are too far apart,” and also of the occasion when Mark Twain’s publisher sent him a telegram insisting
“NEED 2-PAGE SHORT STORY TWO DAYS.”
“NO CAN DO 2 PAGES TWO DAYS. CAN DO 30 PAGES TWO DAYS. NEED 30 DAYS DO 2 PAGES.”