Good, Fast, and Cheap

We can have any two, but not all three

        A man who does remodeling jobs came to look over an idea of mine and he measured, made notes, a phone call or two, and then nodded, yes, he could and would love to do it for me. 
        Naturally, I then asked for the cost and the time needed, and he said that it all depends upon what kind of job I want.  Well, I thought that was taken for granted, of course I wanted good material, used well, finished reasonably soon, and as inexpensive as possible.

Now, ‘inexpensive’ means the same as ‘cheap’.
And while I don’t like the  word, ‘Cheap’,  we know what it means, and
 I’m going to use it over and over.

        He went on, “Every customer, and no matter how big or small the job,  wants those same three things. Everyone wants their job to be  GOOD,  FAST and also as CHEAP (see how that word fits in?) as possible, but  you can’t have all three.
        Seemed simple to me, and looked puzzled, so he went on,  “You can have any two of them, but not all three.

     “If you choose GOOD and FAST, it will not be CHEAP.
     “If you want it GOOD and CHEAP, it will not be FAST, and,
     “If you want it FAST and CHEAP, it won’t be as GOOD as it could be.”

        I was baffled, but after he explained I grudgingly had to agree with him, but had never considered them in his manner.  Just the same, since then, I’ve often used them in my mind.  They get to you.
        This is how it goes.  The man you hire seldom does all the work himself, but hires other men, such as Plumbers, Electricians, and such, to do the work where they are experts.  And if you want the best workmen to do your job, and do it Cheaply, you have to catch them when their type of work is out of season, or they happen to have no other assignments. 
        At any time they’re idle, they often will work at a lower pay rate. But the catch is, you have to ‘grab’ them when they ‘happen’ to be free, and so there is no promise of time, and right there goes the FAST part of it all.
        “That’s how it goes, Ethel.  I can get GOOD material anytime, but GOOD  workman do not come cheap, and so your job won’t be FAST.
        “And,” he says, “I can give you FAST and GOOD, too for I  can always get Good materials, and Good (experts) can be called from other jobs, but I will have to pay them what they are earning, or more, on those other job, to get them to come.  And so there goes CHEAP.” 
     .  And, relentlessly, he went on, “You want it Cheap and Fast, again I can do it rather easily, but I will probably have to get cheap (unskilled)  workman, and so I can’t promise the  job will be as well done, or (GOOD) as if done by the best craftsmen,  and might have to take medium grade material to meet your cost requirements.”
         Anyone with jobs to be done must choose, and finally I laughed, and tried to find some flaw, but, like it or not, there is no flaw.  The Good, but Cheap won’t be Fast, and might take six months to a year (depending on the size of the job)  to get done.  The Good and Fast, you can get, but the job won’t be Cheap,  and the Fast and Cheap won’t be as Good. 
         I do want first class material, and want it installed by people who know their craft and not just learning, and dang it,  I also want it done within a week or two, but  the best workmen have jobs scheduled ahead, and I think of my poor pocketbook.  Oh me.
         The more I think about it, the funnier it gets.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a small household job, or a soaring sky scraper, huge dam, ocean liner,  airplanes, it matters not, for when you get down to the core of it all, it’s the same. The three choices are there. 
         Public buildings are usually GOOD,  and the other two, FAST and CHEAP, get lost along the way. After all, it’s your taxes that pay the bill and the only way we can complain is how we vote, and by then we’ve usually forgotten the Fast and Cheap and only hope for the Good. Anyway, we pay the price and hope for the best.

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