This morning I met a new and frazzled father. He was frazzled less because of the new baby and more because he’d just spent a bit over an hour driving around, trying to get his wife breakfast from Starbucks.
Apparently, he lived near one but saw that the line was out the door. So he drove off to another and again saw a long line. Finally, he ended up at a third, about 20 minutes away from the hospital and got in its line.
All in all, he ended up being two hours late and his wife was having a major blood sugar drop. She got angry of course (since she’d been up for 5 hours with no blood sugar, it didn’t surprise me) and he gave the whole story while I was working with the baby.
While she mostly spoke from lack of food (why doesn’t the hospital feed people? seriously, I see people getting breakfast @ 10:30am) and frustration that the baby is still learning how to nurse, she made an excellent point about false savings.
It might have taken him a long long time at that first Starbucks, but it might not have taken as long as it ended up being. Or if he’d just given in at the second one and realized that driving farther would cost him time, just like standing in line would.
This applies less to purchases (since shopping around for good deals is almost always a good idea—unless you’ll be losing money by not having it now) and more to things like maintenance.
Sometimes it seems like a good idea to put off getting the oil changed, repairing the little leak, we think that if we just push it farther we’ll save money. And while sometimes we can put off fixing the roof until our annual bonus comes, not taking care of that little leak may cost us a lot more in roof repairs.
Our poor frazzled father was probably just thinking “I have to find a place with a short line so I can get her the food quickly.” Good for him wanting to feed her. But that means he didn’t take a minute to reflect that even if the far-off Starbucks had a shorter line, it’d still take him forever to drive there and back. And that it might have a line too.
So next time you see something that needs fixing, ask yourself what’ll happen if you let it go. Will it cost more? The same? Is it liveable? Will it get worse?
On that topic, here are a couple of today’s posts from my blogroll about maintenance and false savings: