Friday, February 26, 2010

Problem #781

I finally know what my problem is. (Well, problem #781 anyway.) I think I have an “irrational escalation of commitment” issue.

Haven’t heard of this error in thinking that could be costing you money? Neither had I.

Consider this. Do you hate to throw out spoiled milk? Why not use those expired milk-chunks-of-goodness as a substitute for yogurt or sour cream? Because, let’s be honest: you paid good money for the bovine swill so it’s just wrong to throw it out, right? Well true, this is an exaggerated example but if you have a misguided notion of the value of stuff that you own, you might have what’s referred to as an “irrational escalation of commitment” issue.

This error in thinking occurs when our pride over-rides our ability to assess the true value of something we own. It’s why many of us tend to spend yet another $1000 on an ailing vehicle (that was once a good deal) because after all, “I spent $12000 on that piece-of-crap already!” Does that really make sense though? Why not cut your losses, sell that rust-heap vehicle and invest that money in something reliable instead of increasing the odds of throwing away even more money?

This makes me think of all those sterile and generic urban storage facilities people pay hundreds of dollars to rent monthly. Does it really make financial sense to rent a small apartment for your junk? Maybe we all just have too much stuff? And therefore, can it really be valuable?

I am guilty of this too. After all, I am storing a few garage sale items that I’m sure will sell for loads of money someday at my upcoming imaginary garage sale, the same one I’ve been rescheduling for the past decade. (Note: I don’t even have a garage.)

And that brings me to my main point: um...does anyone need a mint-condition 1980s filmstrip projector?


Chelle said...

Neil might need one.

Watch Hoarders, Monday Night A&E... or youtube it. You will be instantly cured.

dbs said...

I have watched Hoarders. It's so disturbing and riveting and confusing--it makes me happy "smellevision has not yet been invented." I am NOT a hoarder. Seriously, I am like the anti-hoarder. I wrote this to help those who read my newspaper column (all eleven of them) recognize their "irrational escalation of committment" issues of which hoarding might be one. That's the part I can relate to. For example, I still have a letter opener my Grandma gave me in 1981 yet , genius that I am, I have thrown out all of her letters. Oy-vay.

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