Hospital Lessons – Time, Cost & Quality
It has been over a month since my last post. March was the first month I have missed since I bought the domain. However, I have learnt a lot in the month of March. Sorry for not posting, however hospital trumps blogging in my priority list. I will get to the learnings, but first, a little background.
I have always been the sort of person who likes to find the best. I like to know that I am getting the best possible results for the lowest possible price. Those of you who have seen the Time, Cost, Quality triangle (or some variation of that) could easily guess which one I did not hold in such high regard. (PS: the answer is Time.)
The justification for that has always been easy. Firstly, I like to pay the least for whatever I am getting. Why pay $25 for an iPad case when I can find it for $14 on eBay? I don’t need the case right now, and I know it is exactly the same case. Someone else has imported it and is selling it at a profit.
Secondly, I like the best. By the best I am not talking top-of-the-line necessarily. I am talking good quality for the price-point I am shopping in. Which of the low-end iPad cases is made of a better material? which design has thought about silly little charging doors that will rip off?
The third element is time. This one often doesn’t have a direct cost. If I take longer to decide on that iPad case, it won’t cost me more. If I take longer to decide then the case won’t suddenly be worse quality. In fact, time often helps those others. If you are willing to wait longer to can get it without a middleman (or with fewer middle men). If you are willing to wait longer you can find out more of the potential flaws that could cause quality problems.
This mind-set means I have always been happy to let time take one for the team.
Back to the Hospital … er Story
In March I had the unfortunate opportunity to experience our local hospital facilities first hand. In this instance, I say unfortunate now because of the quality of the hospital, they did a fine job, but rather because of the unpleasant reasons that often go along with a trip into hospital.
All up I was in there for just under I week I believe. I won’t bore you (or feed your macabre curiosity) with details, as I wanted to talk about the change in thinking. I will find out tomorrow (5th April 2017) whether everything is ok or if further action is required.
There is nothing like a hospital visit to put thing into perspective. When you have trouble walking, a short walk to a cheaper place suddenly seems like insanity. Getting things 80% done, especially when they are not permanent, now seems like a great place to be.
Finally, I will list some examples of thing where I used to spend too much time fussing about quality or cost, and why my perspective has changed:
The cost of parking
- I used to drive all over the city and walk for block after block to find free parking. If I can combine exercise with this I would do it again, but when you have 7 different appointments spread out all over the city, an extra half hour walk each way for each of them results in two days of running around rather than one.
- Result: I now will do a quick google to find a couple of parking locations around where I am heading and pick the cheapest (unless I am not in a rush and want some exercise)
Getting the lowest price for items that will provide immediate benefit
- I used to spend hours searching eBay and other deal websites to try to find the cheapest product that did not compromise quality. This resulted in reading review after review after review to save something like $10.
- Result: I have attempted to split the cost savings into buckets. If I am going to save over $1000, then I can spend a good amount of time researching (e.g. new/second-hand car). Saving around $100 means I can spend some time searching over and above what I need to find a product that will fill my needs. If I am only going to save $10, then I now just try to perform a quick google to see if the same item is being sold for less or whether comparison sites rate a different product as better.
Making do with what I have already
- I used to be quite willing to put up with a lot of tedium and/or annoyance to use something that I had already that sort of did the job. A prime example of this is my set of drill bits. I have owned a set of drill bits for years. It was a very cheap set that I think came with something else I bought. Every time I needed to drill something, out they came. Eventually they were so blunt and/or bent that I only had a few sizes that would work. So, I found myself spending far too long trying to drill out larger holes. It wasn’t until I got a new set that I realised how much pain I was causing myself.
- Result: Things you are going to use for a long time, or over and over are worth buying sooner rather than later, even if you can sort of get by now.
Well, that is me for today. Fingers crossed for the final set of results tomorrow!
It’s funny how parking comes up as not so important when hospitals are involved. We found exactly the same thing. I really like your criteria for shopping around – I think this is something I will adopt (although I am coming from the opposite end, where I don’t shop around enough!)
Sending positive thoughts and sincere hopes for a good result.
Thanks Mrs ETT, and thankfully yes – the results came back positive. Now just a little bit more recovery to do.
I can look back a number of times where I would have spent $1000 of my time trying to get a $100 item $3 cheaper. The older you get (or perhaps just wiser?) the more time means to you.
I really like your thoughts and analysis with this. It makes total sense to not go to the extreme length, when that’s just hampering your own results. Opportunity costs, etc if you’re spending more time doing something doesn’t end up making it better.
I hope you’re better soon, from whatever it is you’re going through. We have our fingers crossed for you.
Thanks guys, but you can uncross your fingers, the results are positive (where positive is a good thing). So now just some recovery time and all is good.
My nature is one that likes to make decisions based on all the data. Turning the decision from “which is best” (therefore requiring all the data) to “will this work for what I need” (where a subset of data will work) is an ongoing process.
Nice views Tom
I do agree, but how do you keep yourself disciplined. I find that when I begin making concessions here and there I can quickly start to rationalise almost anything. I actually find it easier to be more extreme.
Kind of like if an alcoholic wants to quit he can’t do it by drinking in moderation.
Thanks for stopping by, and a great question Pat – I find I have to force myself to make decisions without all the information. So far I have not had problems with that. The one exception is with larger purchases. When I get into a mood of “less justification needed or I don’t get things done”, then I find it much easier to justify large purchases. For example, a large purchase of shares, or a large expensive TV, or even (almost) a second car! To prevent my “free spending” mood migrating to larger purchases, I just make sure I run anything over about $1000 past my partner. That tends to be a good sanity check for me.
We also found that parking near the hospital had ridiculous prices, they knew a lot of people were there to just come and visit. We went to see my pop and were there for 3 hours and cost us almost $35. That just seems like money grabbing to me.