Recently, while I was in a laundromat (guess what I was doing? No, laundry ya’ perv…), I had some time to think. While I was sitting there, a woman entered with a small plastic bag of clothes, and headed for the machine closest to the door. Now, this particular machine is a hulking beast. It’s meant to do blankets or 5 months worth of clothes at a time. I watched as she dumped her shopping bag’s worth of clothes into it and began pumping in the coins at a frenzied pace. After adding detergent, she was out the door. Gone from my life as quickly as she had entered.
Once again I was alone with my thoughts, and that’s rarely a good thing.
It began to nag at me. It’s only about 10 steps from the iron giant to the smallest and cheapest machine. So why would she go for the bigger machine, when she could have saved money and gotten the same results? The only conclusion I could reach was that her spare time must be that valuable. With only lint tumbleweed around to provide entertainment, I decided to do little math.
Now the way I see it, by going to the larger machine, she saved herself five seconds, but spent $5.50 more. Assuming that this is indeed her free time to do such trivial things as chores, that means her spare time must be worth more than $5.50 every five seconds. To put it another way, every minute of her precious time is worth 66 bucks. That’s 3960 dollars an hour her time is worth. Some people work hard to make that much in a month! And this is just her off time we’re talking. But I decided to take it further.
What if her spare time were to get a full time job?>
- 40 hour work week at her current spare time: $158,400
- In a month: $633,600
- For a year: $7,603,200
And remember, to justify not walking the extra steps to another washer, means that her time is worth more than that. More than 7.6 million dollars a year! Unfortunately, my figuring didn’t stop there…
See, I too was doing laundry. I had come in with two loads worth. But rather than use the smallest available, I used the medium machine and combined the loads. In doing so, I saved myself $1.00. I also saved about a minute in loading time. That means that for every 60 seconds, my spare time is worth -1 dollar, since in this instance, any money saved is negative. That means that for every hour, my time is worth less than -6000 dollars.
So what if my spare time were to get a full time job?
- 40 hour work week: -$240,000
- In a month: -$960,000
- In a year: -$11,520,000
That’s pretty humbling.
So what can I conclude from all of this? After all the math is said and done, I realize that not only is my time worth less, but since I was able to take the time to figure all this out… My time is pretty worthless.
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