A baker is just getting ready lock his front door when a man rushes up. “I need to have a cake made right now!” he exclaims.
“I’m sorry,” replies the baker. “But I was just closing up. I’ve dismissed my staff; I’ve shut down my machines; I’m afraid you’ll have to come back tomorrow.”
“I can’t wait until tomorrow!” insists the man. “It’s absolutely imperative that this cake be made right now!”
The baker always liked to think of himself as a nice guy, so he says, “All right, I’ll see what I can do.” He goes inside and turns all his appliances back on. He then approaches the counter and ties on his apron. “Okay, what is it you need?”
The man whips out a sketch from his pocket. It’s a very well drawn depiction of a cake. “It has to look just like this,” says the man. “Exactly one foot wide, one foot long, and six inches tall. White frosting, blue icing, and a red cursive “S” in the middle. Just like this.”
Somewhat startled, the baker ponders the sketch for a few moments and replies. “I think I can do that. It will be ready in about half an hour.”
“Half an hour!?” exclaims the man. “That won’t do. I need this in fifteen minutes.”
“Fifteen minutes?” responds the baker. “I’m not sure I can do that. I suppose I might be able to get it done that fast if I used some pre-made dough. It wouldn’t taste as good but…”
“I don’t care. Just get to it, please,” blurts the man, while checking his watch frantically.
So the baker goes back and makes the cake. He works faster than he ever has before, and somehow produces the cake in just under fifteen minutes. He presents it to the man fresh out of the oven. “Will this be sufficient?” he asks.
The man takes a measuring tape from his pocket. He checks the length, width, and height very carefully. He then compares it to the sketch. Suddenly, a look of horror comes across his face. “No no!” he exclaims. “The ‘s’ is the wrong shade of red! It has to be the same shade as the sketch. Oh, what will I do now??”
“Calm down,” says the baker. “If the shade really is a problem I think I can re-ice it. It may take a few more minutes…”
“You can?” asks the man anxiously. “Well please, get going!”
So the baker quickly takes the cake back and puts on a new “S”. A few minutes later he brings it back to the visibly distraught man. “There you go. Is this what you were looking for?” he asks.
Once again the man scrutinizes the cake, checking every detail. He compares the shades of red, and this time decides they’re all right. “Okay” says the man quickly, “this is good. Can I pay you now.”
“Of course,” says the baker, hastily readying the cash register. “Now, the boxes we have available are over here. Do you want to pick one out?”
“Oh no, that won’t be necessary,” answers the man. “I’ll eat it here.”