The value of time

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I try not to be crass or self-important. Nonetheless, I think a lot about the value of my time. Would I rather go out of my way to save a dollar on a box of Cheerios, or buy it at a local deli? Is it worth taking on a high-profile but poorly paid freelance assignment? Is it worth stuffing my schedule to the gills or reserving some unpaid time during the day to start dinner so I can take my son to the playground in the evening?

I thought about this recently when I tried to buy our babysitter a gift card for her birthday. I wanted a physical card, and I knew I wouldn’t have time to go to an actual store until several days after her birthday. So I went online and bought a virtual card that could supposedly be printed… except that that system was down. I found it very difficult to explain to otherwise sympathetic customer service representatives why, after two failed rounds of “why don’t we just resend the virtual card” (which cost me an additional 48 hours), I wasn’t willing to spend more time on the phone while they tried to think of other ways to solve the problem. Because what I stood to lose was not just the $25 I’d spent but the work I’d failed to do while dealing with the problem, and the missed opportunity to pull together a different idea on time…

On the other hand, once you’ve “invested” in a certain idea, it’s hard to know exactly when you’d be better off if you dropped it, so it was only after two days of calling that I gave up and went elsewhere for my gift.

One thought on “The value of time

  1. This is a great example of a service that is supposed to be convenient and time-saving turning into something overly time-consuming unexpectedly! It’s one of my pet peeves when something is supposed to be convenient and easy turns out to be more difficult than if I’d done it in a different way.

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