Sunday, September 4, 2016

If time's worth more than the money, spend the money

I worked for Grandpa Joe for about 17 years. Among other odd things he had this habit, which at the time I thought poorly of, where he would quickly give up the search for a tool or part he needed for a job at hand and simply go buy another whatever. He would end a search within 15 minutes, sometimes less, and even as a teenager who didn't care much about money I wondered why we wouldn't keep searching for something we knew we had until we found it? Joe, being Joe, did things his way. A scant few minutes would pass before he would say, "Aw Hell, let's go get another." Well, his money, right? His time too.

In recent years that last point has struck me as perhaps the important one. That thought came crashing down to me yesterday as I finished a repair on the back of my house.

I had spent about two hours on it and was a quarter hour from finished. I was down to doing a bit a caulking and that would be that. So I climbed down from the ladder and went into the basement, to grab the caulk and caulking gun I knew I had.

Of course I couldn't find the things. After about 15 minutes I actually said out loud though no one was there, "Aw Hell, I'll just go get another caulking gun". The hardware was only a mile away, a two mile round trip.

In fifteen minutes I was home, and fifteen later I was done. It cost me three bucks for a cheap caulking gun, two-ninety-nine for caulk, and all of $6.35 once the tax was added.

For that price, why keep thrashing about my basement? To be sure, I intend to keep closer track of the new tool; why spend three dollars each time you need a caulking gun? But I had no idea yesterday whether I'd find my old one in another ten minutes or for two hours. As it were, I was done in about 45 minutes; a third of that would have been burned if I had walked straight to my old tool and gotten right back up the ladder.

You see, your time is worth something. I'd rather spend just over six bucks perhaps unnecessarily and know I'd have the job done soon instead of taking who knew how long to search and still have to complete the chore. Or maybe have to go get a new caulking gun anyway.

Of course, if I'd have been needing a hundred dollar tool I'd have looked a lot longer. Joe would have too. But for relatively small change, save yourself the time.

I think that crotchety old man was onto something after all.

No comments: