Monthly Archives: June 2010

10 happy friends go out for dinner

10 happy friends go out for a dinner together. The bill is $100. They split the bill based on the principles of how fairness is usually judged in a society, and how taxes are payed in most countries:

– The four first friends (the least wealthy) eat for free
– The 5th pays $1
– The 6th pays $3
– The 7th pays $7
– The 8th $12
– The 9th $18
– The 10th person (the wealthiest) pays $59

The 10 friends eat dinner in this restaurant every day and are happy with this arrangement. One day, the restaurant owner says:

– “You are such faithful customers that I will give you a $20 discount from now on”.

A dinner for 10 now costs only $80. The friends want to keep dividing the bill in a fair way. The first 4 aren’t affected. They get to keep eating for free. But how will the other 6 divide the $20 discount?

They realize that $20 divided by 6 is $3.3, and if they just split this evenly among themselves, the 5th and the 6th persons would actually get money to eat.

The restaurant owner comes up with another solution. He says that they can simply ignore the “discount” and pretend that the dinner costs $80. Then they can simply re-calculate what each person should pay from start, according to the principles of the taxation system.

The result is that now, the 5th person also gets to eat for free. The 6th gets to pay $2, the 7th $5, the 8th $9, the 9th $12, and the 10th person gets to pay $52 instead of $59. So the result is that everybody now has a lower price than before, plus an additional person gets to eat for free.

They are all happy, but when they get out of the restaurant, they start comparing what each person has saved…

– I only get to keep $1 of the $20 discount, says the 6th person. He points at the 10th person and says:
– But he gets to keep $7!

– Exactly, I also save just $1, and it is unfair that he gets to save 7 times as much as us! says the 5th person.

– Yeah! Why should he get to keep $7 of the $20 discount, when I just get $2? The rich always get the better deal! shouts the 7th person.

– Wait a minute! shout the 4 first persons, who get to eat for free every day.
– We don’t get anything from that discount. This system abuses the poor!

The 9 persons yell like dogs and moan like pigs at the 10th, call him all sorts of names, and accuse him of sucking the blood out of the poor.

Next night, the 10th person doesn’t show up for the dinner. Nice, think the others when they sit down to eat, finally they can eat in peace without a rich person sucking their blood out and using them. But when the bill lands on the table, they discover something very strange:

$52 is missing…..

(This story was originally written in Swedish and sent to me by a close friend. I translated it to English because it summarizes perfectly how second-handers misuse our empathy and kindness, to make us feel guilty and give away what is rightfully ours. But do not be tricked by their foul tactics. Second-handers are the ones who are selfish and greedy. Because they think they have the right to take what we rightfully own, without giving anything in return but guilt.

The original version of this story can be found on the internet if you search google for “10 glada personer går ut för att äta middag tillsammans”.)

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