Sunday, January 17, 2010

Is It Worth the Time and Money?

Consider a business that offers the following service:

You will wait in line for an unknown amount of time - though it will probably be longer than 30 minutes. After which, you will be allowed to buy items that you could by elsewhere for 1/6 the price. If you use the items that you buy, you will be happy and confident for the next few hours, but you will also want to spend more money. If you use the items too much, the next day you might also have a headache and you probably won't be able to think very well.

On the benefits side, you will be surrounded by other people who are doing the same thing. Some of them who are members of the opposite sex may even want to get to know you better.

By now it's obvious that I'm talking about bars, but I'm telling an unusual story. It's a cold, rational way of looking at bars.

I used to love going out. Why the sudden change?

I realized today that my time is more valuable than it was last year. That raises my real cost to go to the bar (and the cost of the lost day if things get a little crazy). I'm also a student now, which means no steady paycheck - I'm living off savings. That means buying a $6 beer is the same thing as giving up two home cooked meals.

I also have a smaller bar-hopping social circle than I used to. That means that I get less enjoyment when I do go out (It's probably important to note that the sex appeal hasn't been added any value for over two years - I've already got a great girl).

It's still $40 and 20 hours of my time spent on the same activity. I used to think the trade of was worthwhile. Now it's not.

The only thing that changed was me, and the value equation switched direction. Funny how that works.