Every night, ten men met at a restaurant for dinner. At the end of the meal,
the bill would arrive. They owed $100 for the food that they shared. Every
night they lined up in the same order at the cash register. The first four
men paid nothing at all. The fifth, though he grumbled about the unfairness
of the situation, paid $1. The sixth man, feeling generous, paid $3. The
next three men paid $7, $12, and $18, respectively. The last man was
required to pay the remaining balance of $59.
The ten men were quite settled into their routine when the restaurant threw
them into chaos. It announced that it was cutting its prices: Now it would
charge only $80 for dinner for the ten men. This reduction wouldn't affect
the first four men - they would continue to eat for free. The fifth person
decided to forgo his $1 contribution to the pool, and the sixth contributed
$2. The seventh man deducted $2 from his usual payment and now paid $5. The
eighth man paid $9, the ninth, $12, leaving the last man with a bill of $52.
Outside of the restaurant, the men compared their savings, and angry
outbursts began to erupt. The sixth man yelled, "I got only $1 out of the
total reduction of $20, and he" - pointing to the last man - "got $7."
fifth man joined in the protest. "Yeah! I got only $1 too. It is unfair that
he got seven times more than me." The seventh man cried, "Why should he get
a $7 reduction when I got only $2?" The first four men followed the lead of
the others: "We didn't get any of the $20 reduction. Where is our share?"
The nine men formed an outraged mob, surrounding the tenth man. The nine
angry men carried the tenth man up to the top of a hill and lynched him. The
next night, the nine remaining men met at the restaurant for dinner. But
when the bill came, there was no one to pay it.
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