One time we ventured off to Laredo to bid on a project, a new water line. This was way back in the late 70’s. The bids were turned in the late afternoon. We had to stay over until that night when the bids were opened and read at the city council meeting. I figured that was a ploy to get more hotel tax revenue.
My brother, Kenny was with me for this trip. We got to the council meeting and saw where not only our bid was going to be opened that night but probably 6 or 8 other bids would also be opened. There was everything from our water line project to a new hanger at the airport, some new streets were to be built, a new annex building and a multitude of different projects were on the agenda. The last thing was a bid being opened for a new Fire Truck.
As the bids started being opened and read aloud, the same guy, with a Hispanic named company was the low bidder on every one. It didn’t matter what it was for, he was getting the low bid. Sure enough when it came to the water line project he was the low bidder. We were second bidder, but he had bombed it. His bid was far less than our actual cost.
When they got to the end, he had bid on every project and was low bidder everytime. Every one of them unbelievably cheap.
I reached over and nudged Kenny in the ribs with my elbow and remarked “watch this he’ll be the low bidder on the the Fire Truck”. He was the low bidder on the Fire Truck too.
As we were walking out, we were told that the company that had won all the bids was owned by a brother in law of the mayor. That’s the way business was done in that part of the state in those days. We were assured that we need not worry about the poor fellow losing money because of the cheap bids he had submitted. He would be just fine.
There is a companion story to this one, the preparation of the bid. The title to that one is Evesdropping Through The Motel Wall.