A zoning board had just been set up in a new community. A householder went to the office to request permission to build a small toolshed in his backyard.

"Have you a plan?" asked the director.

"Oh, yes," said the householder, who showed him a map of his neighborhood, the dimension of his yard, and a sketch of the shed.

"That looks fine," said the director. He pulled out a piece of paper, wrote a few words on it, Xeroxed it, and said, "Here's your permission."

A month later, a neighbor in almost exactly the same situation also wanted permission for a shed in her yard. She went to the director, got as far as a secretary, and made her request. "Thank you, Mrs. Smith," said the secretary, taking the documents. "Telephone me in two weeks and I'll let you know what the director's decision is, or what further steps are necessary."

"But," groaned Mrs. Smith, "a month ago my neighbor got permission right away."

"Oh, yes," said the secretary, "but that was before we finally got organized."