Retired engineer

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There was an engineer who had an exceptional gift for fixing all things
mechanical. After serving his company loyally for over 30 years, he
happily retired. Several years later the company contacted him regarding
a seemingly impossible problem they were having with one of their
multi-million dollar machines. They had tried everything and everyone
else to get the machine fixed, but to no avail. In desperation, they called
on the retired engineer who had solved so many of their problems in the

The engineer reluctantly took the challenge. He spent a day studying the
huge machine. At the end of the day, he marked a small "x" in chalk on a
particular component of the machine and proudly stated, "This is where
your problem is". The part was replaced and the machine worked perfectly

The company received a bill for $50,000 from the engineer for his
service. They demanded an itemized accounting of his charges.

The engineer responded briefly:

One chalk mark $1
Knowing where to put it $49,999

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