Once upon a time in the Shire, the government decided that it wanted to stop investing in all machinery (snow ploughs, pneumatic drills, electric kettles, paper shredders etc) and instead wished to commission the invention of seven kinds of service to deliver the outcomes that the all the machines used to deliver. All the manufacturers and service providers in the Shire spent all their time for months and months for there would be no more purchases of machinery and adapting to this new environment would be the way their businesses would survive and the way that they would keep jobs for their staff. However as time went on, the requirements of the Shire kept changing:
The new purchase must be suitable in the light, in the dark, in the summer and the winter, in urban environments and rural communities. Manufacturers and service providers came from far and wide to see if they could meet the challenges and win the prize of investment from the Shire. Artizans across all the towns and villages in the Shire sat up late at night and slaved over candlelight to come up with plans, designs, costings and risk analyses for all possible eventualities. They knew that Artizans and mythical beasts called bid writers across the country would also be competing for the same prize.
When the time came, they all submitted their plans to the Big Hall in the Shire and anxiously awaited the results of the government’s consideration. All were worried that the Shire government would decide to invest somewhere else and leave their workers jobless and at risk of their families being turned out on the streets. After some time three local lucky businesses were told that their plans were the best and that they were successful. In these places, there were parties with much fizzy pop and cakes as workers celebrated that they would have job security in the business that they worked in as their skills, hard work and industriousness was so obviously appreciated and rewarded by this success. For those that were unsuccessful there was sadness as in the few weeks before Christmas redundancy notices were handed out. Workers went back to their families and shared the bad news of their impending unemployment. Crisis plans were made to buy less presents for the festive period and turn off the heating more often. Some looked to find support from credit unions and foodbanks.
It was a Shire divided of those who were confident and had glasses full and those looking to the future to find a way of putting bread on the table anxious about making ends meet today. To those that had little to be hopeful for it was a time of great stress with little to look forward to. Children were told that there would be cut backs, mothers and fathers discussed how economies could be made in the household budget and wondered how they would cope with new babies and older relatives that had recently become ill and could no longer contribute money to the housekeeping.
Then suddenly on the Friday before Christmas there came the news that the government in the Shire had changed its mind and was thinking of a completely different plan. The politicians and the mandarins had decided the plan they had before was not the right plan. Instead, new plans included the selling off of the Big Hall and all the machinery for all the services. Instead, there would be big purchases of four magic beans and 95% of the people working in the Big Hall would also lose their jobs. Suddenly Christmas looked bleak for an awful lot of people. Suddenly all in the Shire were united by a future that looked bleak to all.