How To Waste Your Time

A few years ago I was at a K-Mart using their Western Union services to wire some money. As always, I made sure to go before 11am to beat the crowds, but there was still a small line at the customer service desk where I had to be.

As I waited, I saw a huge pickup truck pull into the parking lot and park. Out walked a guy holding a small package. He slowly walked down the parking lot, entered the store, looked around, saw us, got into a different customer service line, and waited.

The luck gods were not smiling on me that day.  His line moved faster than mine did, so this guy eventually reached a customer service rep well before me. I saw that he was trying to return some item he (or more likely his wife) had purchased at the store. It was some piece of crap Christmas ornament, or something like that. I could tell from the conversation he had with the gal behind the counter that the thing cost him 13 bucks, and he was trying to return it.

I heard the gal tell him that because he didn’t have a receipt, he could not return the item. He pleaded with her, telling her repeatedly that “I bought it here!”. She kept apologizing and said it was impossible to return the item without a receipt. He finally said “That’s a load of crap!”

Then he shook his head, slowly turned around, walked all the way back to his truck, and drove away.

I was amazed. This dude drove all the way to K-Mart and waited in line for no other reason than to return a 13 dollar item. He didn’t bother to bunch this task with other tasks he could have preformed at the K-Mart or in the vicinity, like pick up some groceries. Nope. He drove to a K-Mart, parked, waited in line, argued with the gal, spent all that time, just for 13 bucks. I was curious how much gas it cost him to drive to K-Mart with that massive pickup truck in order to save 13 dollars.

I’m not saying 13 dollars is worthless, and perhaps he was a poorer guy and 13 bucks to him was a lot of money (though I doubt it). I’m saying this guy had so little respect for his own time, he avoided doing 5 or 10 other things while at the K-Mart or other locations within walking distance instead of taking 30 minutes out of his day and several dollars in gas just to (possibly) return a 13 dollar item.

Your time is valuable.  Time is life.  Don’t be like him.

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