After many months of tough negotiations on a very large tender, agreement was reached and immediately embodied in a Notice of Intent to Award letter. This included the sentence “For the payment of ten dollars and other good and valuable consideration, your company agrees that it will hold the above stated price….”. Checking this unfamiliar language with legal our quick-thinking colleague was advised “yes. take the money”.

However, after signing, and as everyone was packing up to leave, my colleague asked the client, with all seriousness but also with a smile: “We’ve signed the document, so where’s our ten dollars?” The problem was no one had come to the meeting with the correct amount! We resolved this amusing situation by splitting a twenty-dollar bill over a celebration cocktail, and the framed letter, along with the ten dollars, now hangs in our office.

In another instance, we had just signed a big contract and were about to fly home with the documents. The contract itself was just a few pages long, but the appendices took up about five A4-size boxes, so it wasn’t practical for the plane.

A colleague suggested we use a courier’s secure document service. So, we turned up and were asked the simple question: “What’s the value of the package?” The contract was worth millions, but the paper was only about 40 dollars! We had a laugh, before taking out the contract and insuring the boxes for seventy dollars.

I guess it just goes to show, when it comes to winning huge tenders, you must take care of the loose change as well as the big bucks.

More memories

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