The Opportunity Cost of Not Reading Mail Ads

We receive a lot of mail advertisements; I never read them. My wife, however, routinely flips through the pile, checking out the food stuff and whatever draws her attention. Yesterday, she thought me a lesson on the opportunity cost of my lack of interest in the mail adds.

A while ago, our washing machine broke down and we replaced it (it was nine years old, and cheap back then, so we quickly calculated that we had got more than what we paid for and that our money were better spent on a new machine instead of repairing the old one). In the washing machine shop, we ended up choosing between three alternatives we perceived as low priced, but with high quality. We chose the most expensive alternative.

Anyway, a couple of days ago an ad from the shop showed up in the mail, and my wife found our machine at the same price as the cheap alternative! Lucky for us, the store had a ’30 days price guarantee,’ so we went back and the store refunded us the price difference without any much trouble.

Now, given the time my wife spends flipping through all those ads, the pay-off may be unimpressive. However, she flips through the ads hunting for relatively small awards and because of curiosity, not to find actual money. Yesterday was, in other words, like finding the keys under the lamp post, or maybe like finding thousand dollar bills on sidewalks.

I worry that my wife will spend even more time reading mail ads in the future now that it has taken on a guise of gambling (small bets turn in to huge rewards, ever so unlikely).

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