Today we're going to present a puzzle for you. What, you may ask, does a puzzle have to do with client service? Well...nothing, actually, except that providing outstanding client service sometimes means thinking outside the box. Let's see how you fare!
Long ago a merchant had the misfortune of owing a large sum of money to a lender. The old & ugly lender fancied the merchant's beautiful daughter, so he proposed a bargain. He would forgo the merchant's debt if he could marry his daughter. Both the merchant and his daughter were horrified by the proposal. The cunning lender suggested they let providence decide the matter.
The lender would put a black and white pebble into an empty bag. The girl would then pick one pebble from the bag. If she picked the black pebble, she would become the lender's wife and her father's debt would be forgiven. If she picked the white pebble she need not marry him and her father's debt would still be forgiven. If she refused to pick a pebble, her father would be thrown into jail.
They were standing on a pebble strewn path in the merchant's garden. As they talked, the lender bent over to pick up two pebbles. As he picked them up, the girl noticed that he had picked up two black pebbles and put them in the bag. He then asked the girl to pick her pebble from the bag.
What would you have done if you were the girl? Here are some options (remember the consequences!):
1. Refuse to take a pebble.
2. Show there were two black pebbles in the bag and expose the lender as a cheat.
3. Pick a black pebble and sacrifice herself to save her father.
4. Another option?
The girl put her hand into the bag and drew out a pebble. Without looking at it, she fumbled and let it fall onto the pebble-strewn path where it immediately became lost among all the other pebbles (OOPS!).
"Oh, how clumsy of me," she said. "But never mind, if you look into the bag for the one that is left, you will be able to tell which pebble I picked."
Since the remaining pebble is black, it must be assumed that she had picked the white one.
How did you do? Did you "save the day?"