Monday, January 25, 2016


Disclaimer: When I told this story to some friends in person, I mis-remembered some of the exact details, and since that version is funnier than the truth, I'm going to employ the use of "historical fiction" in my opening paragraph.

The other day I ordered some calcium pills from Amazon (because I'm an old man now - I'm thirty! :) and combined with a couple other items in my cart I had maybe $50 or $60 worth of merch. Then I realized, "hey, this deodorant is half the price at Sam's club," so that got deleted from my cart. And some of the other stuff in my cart, after reflection (and asking myself, "what would Alissa [my girlfriend] buy?") I deleted them because I realized it was an irresponsible impulse buy that I didn't need.

This left me with a cart of things I "needed" (calcium pills, and an iPhone car charger), and it also left me $10 short of getting the free shipping. Ain't nobody got money for shipping around here! I desperately needed to spend 10 more dollars so I could save five dollars on shipping. I'm not sure whether that's real irony, "Alanis Morissette irony," or just plain silly, but nevertheless an hour later, I was still wracking my brain for something that I "needed" to buy. Eventually I found a used book I've been wanting (Outbound Flight by Timothy Zahn), a movie (Harvey), and some honey in a bear-shaped container to round out my purchase.

As my friend Matt pointed out when I shared this story with him, the opportunity cost of my time was way more than the price of shipping. I'm probably a little too stubborn and don't know when to call it quits on a sunk cost.

My point, though, is this: in that hour wasting time window shopping at Amazon, I realized I have reached that magical, mythical, unheard-of-in-America, land of enough. Now of course, there are plenty of things I could spend more money on, like Star Wars Legos, or lightsabers, or more board games, and on and on and on. Which is what my society tells me I should do, because what I have already can never be enough. But it is. That moment for me was profound.

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