This morning I’m sitting in this waiting room while my car gets an oil change. The mechanics here are prefer to work on Audis and Porches but they’ve done other repairs for me, so they let me sneak in for an oil change. The shop is in my suburb, whereas the dealer is eight miles away across town. They charge more here, but I don’t have to drive through traffic.
Which brings up all the extra surcharges we pay for convenience and what that means. Aren’t we really paying to keep our time? Because an hour of our time is worth more to us than the $40 surcharge. Doesn’t that make whatever I substitute in for that hour of my time worth $40/hr?
In the case of a busy mom that might be stopping at the grocery store or being available to run the kids to sports activities. Or someone may have elderly parents that need a lift to a medical appointment. Even if the hour is spent at happy hour with work colleagues, more than likely the time is being used towards a social connection and not the profession at hand.
Since we don’t keep track of this type of work specifically, it’s hard to track how people are making these tradeoffs. But if we started taking the time to calculate the surcharges we pay and then looking into the activities that are substituted in during the recaptured time, we could get a glimpse at what is most important to us.