So on the way home from getting gasoline (because tomorrow I have to drive halfway to Timbuktu), I stop by the neighborhood Walmart grocery store and pick up five pounds of sugar and several packages of frozen veggies. At the bakery in that strip mall, I grab a couple of palmiers, a fattening treat of which I’m unduly fond.
When I get home, I realize the Walmart cashier has put those few little grocery items into not one but two plastic bags, which at Walmart they just leave on the bag dispenser for the hoi polloi to disconnect and carry off themselves. I’ve left a five-pound bag of sugar at the Walmart.
Which brings us to the Question of the Day: Would you jump back in your car, drive back to the Walmart, park, stand in line with your receipt in hand, haggle with the clerk, and try to get them to give you the abandoned sugar?
The sugar cost less than $2.00.
I have not one, not two, but three projects in hand today, paying between $4 and $10 a page. All the clients are in a ball-busting hurry to get done.
Ultimately, I decided to write off the cost of the sugar. It would, I think, cost more to drive back up there and beg for the sugar than to pay two bucks for air. There’s no guarantee that Walmart would agree to let me have a bag of sugar — for all they know, I’m running a scam. Something to do with drugs, no doubt.
But assuming they did, I’m earning something between $30 and $60 an hour just now, depending on which project I’m laboring over. Twenty minutes or half an hour of my time devoted to retrieving five pounds of sugar would mean that bag of sugar would cost between $10 and $20: most expensive sugar on the planet!
Tomorrow’s trip back from Timbuktu will take me past a Trader Joe, a Sprout’s, and a Safeway. Each of them will charge considerably more than Walmart, of course. But even at, say, $3.50 for a bag of sugar, that’s still a bargain compared to the value of my time when I’m actually working.
How do you feel about that kind of trade-off? Spend a half-hour to run back to a Walmart and try to retrieve a forgotten two-dollar item? Or stay in front of the computer to earn five to ten times that much?
Image: DepositPhotos, © ajafoto