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The Cost of Opportunity Costs

I know a lot of folks who study, work, and teach economics. But, on the weekends, I don’t hang out with a lot of folks who fit that profile.  Many took an intro micro or macro course in college. But that was years ago.  The teachers, social workers, veterinarians, graphic designers, marketing/advertising folks, paralegals and lawyers often give me funny looks when I make a decision I think is based on the true opportunity costs associated with a situation.  As a result, I often end up involved in [sometimes lengthy and sometimes mildly contentious–depending on the hour] conversations explaining my decisions; thus incurring a new time cost.

“Weird” things I do that draw questions:

  • I have absolutely no problem getting the “premium” garbage bags, toilet paper, etc.  You might feel weird spending an extra two bucks on the scented oder absorbing garbage bags when there are perfectly good ones next to them.  But the one day you forget to take out the trash, I’m sure you would gladly pay the $2 to have your apartment not smell like the eggs that went bad in the bag.
  • When my bank is not easily accessible I almost always choose a shady bodega ATM as they tend to charge between $1.25 and $1.75, whereas a competing major bank is almost always between $2-$4.  I also feel the chance that I will be accosted for my money is less in a trafficked deli then in a secluded bank atrium where I am by myself.
  • Speaking of ATMs, I almost always use my debit card for transactions at grocery stores/pharmacies that offer cash back with no charge for withdrawal.

Another option: print cards to hand out every time I’m asked about a curious question. At least then the cost is a one time monetary transaction.  I’ll have to make sure it explains why I printed the cards to avoid the follow up.

A more full list of idiosyncrasies from actual economists is here.

My favorites: paying for movers rather than helping someone move, and Milton Friedman returning reporters’ phone calls collect.



One Response

  1. Seriously. I find this happens to me a lot, too. The reactions I get are people either think I am crazy, pretentious, or actually really smart.

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