A man got a job as a night watchman at a factory. There had been a
lot of thefts by the workers on the night shift, and so every
morning when the night shift workers passed through his gate it
was his job to check their bags and pockets to make sure that
nothing was being stolen.
Things were going along very well the first night on the job until
a man pushing a wheelbarrow of newspaper came through his gate.
Aha, he thought, that man thinks he can cover up what he is
stealing with that newspaper. So he removed the paper only to find
nothing. Still he felt that the man was acting strangely, so he
questioned him about the paper.
"I get a little extra money from newspapers I recycle, so I go
into the lunchroom and pick up all the ones people have thrown
away." The guard let him pass, but decided to keep a close eye on
him. The next night it was the same, and the night after that.
Week after week it went on. The same guy would push the
wheelbarrow of newspapers past the guard's checkpoint. The guard
would always check and find nothing.
Then one night, about a year later, the guard reported for work
only to find a message had been left for him telling him to report
to his supervisor. He walked into the supervisor's office and
before he could say a word, the boss said, "You're fired!"
"Fired?" he asked in total surprise. "Why? What did I do?"
"It was your job to make sure that no one stole anything from this
plant and you have failed. So you're fired."
"Wait a minute, what do you mean failed. Nobody ever stole
anything from this place while I was on guard."
"Oh, really," the boss answered. "Then how do you account for the
fact that there are over 250 wheelbarrows missing?"