Monday, November 17, 2014

Marriage 701, Lecture 764: The scales of justice

We have an electric scale that is frighteningly accurate. I do not need this level of accuracy in a scale. I don't need to know how close I am to That Number, the number that I suspect many of us have, the number that means that the rest of the day and until The Number goes down, I will feel not so great.

I try not to write about this stuff because

1. talking about weight is boring
2. talking about weight is self indulgent
3. talking about weight is pointless

I do not want to hear about other people's diets. I don't want to hear about what they weigh. It is not what I care about with other people and I certainly hope it's not what they care about with me.

Still, I envy the naturally slim.

So we have this super accurate scale that takes batteries.

I know.

It was SH's idea, not mine. I do not need that level of accuracy. I have jeans. I know.

The problem with battery-operated items is that eventually, the batteries run out.

This causes multiple problems:

1. The batteries have to be replaced
2. The scale does not work while it does not have batteries.

That is only two items, which I guess is technically "multiple"  but I wonder.

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.

When I lived alone and had dead batteries, I had new batteries within a day or two.

Then I married an engineer and ceded control of anything using other than human-made power (ie, anything that did not involve human hands, such as scrubbing, chopping, and washing) to him. Usually, this does not bother me as I do not have any ego invested in maintaining a car or a computer. I am happy to delegate all this work to someone else.

But when it comes to batteries and lightbulbs, I would rather they be replaced sooner rather than later.

SH does not operate on that philosophy.

SH operates on the philosophy that it's not enough to complete a task. The task must also be completed perfectly. He must optimize all things, LPC.  (Lisa has worked with engineers. She knows.)

And for batteries, optimization means paying the lowest price possible for the best battery possible.

We are talking about batteries. We are not talking about shoes. We are not talking about purses.

We are talking about SH seeing the battery he needed - he knew it was the proper one because he had taken the dead battery out of the scale and left it in the car in the little pocket created around the gear shift so he would have it if he happened to go by a battery-selling establishment - and not buying it because it cost seven dollars.

"It should not cost more than four dollars!" he said indignantly when he came home battery-less.

"So you think it's worth driving to some other store just to save three dollars?" I asked.

"Yes!" He was surprised I had to ask.

I presented the question to my boss and co-workers, engineers all. They had just discussed the dentist who was paying ten dollars a pound for Halloween candy and what would be the most they would pay for post-Halloween on-sale candy to redeem at the dentist. My boss mused that he could get candy for under five dollars a pound and decided that the returns of selling to the dentist would be worth it.

I asked them about the battery. "Shouldn't my husband just have bought the battery?" I asked. "It was right there. He was already at the store. He could have crossed that task off his list and been done with it. Now, we still don't have a battery and he will have to make a special trip to find it."

We live in a great neighborhood - we can walk to restaurants and the library and the grocery store and city hall - but there is no place within walking distance of our house to buy batteries unless you can get them at Walgreen's and I think this is a special kind of battery not carried by Walgreen's. So this battery expedition would require driving.

My boss and co-workers were shocked. "No! He needs to get a better price!" On principle, they supported SH completely. It is better to spend a lot of time procuring an object than to overpay for it. Even when that overpayment is only three dollars, which is 0.75 beer units.

It was another week before SH got the battery. He got it at Menards, the store he loves to hate. Menards did not treat my uncle well when my uncle worked there. John Menard, the owner, is apparently quite the jerk. SH does not like John Menard for his own sake and now, after we learned about what Menard did to my uncle, we don't like him even more.

Yet he went to the store. I can't remember why. He misses Menards. It's a love/hate relationship. It's a little like SH's dad's relationship with Wal-Mart, except SH does not proclaim loudly how evil  Menards is and condemn the people who shop there and mock them but then shop there on a regular basis himself without any shame. No, SH has not been to Menards in a couple of years. I don't know why he fell off the wagon. But he did - and he returned home with a four-pack of batteries. They cost four dollars. He was so proud of the bargain.

He replaced the dead battery. The scale works frighteningly well again.

And when I was cleaning out the junk drawer, I found a pack of the scale batteries in the back.


LPC said...

Yes, I understand. SH's politics complicate his optimization - it's hard to find virtue and economies of scale in the same place;).

Joan said...

Buy your batteries on eBay.

webb said...

Well, at least he did not go to the box under the bed that contains at least 25 of each type of battery known to man. The box that weighs so much that I cannot lift it off the floor, and must therefore kneel and search thru it.

Actually, he should have called me and I would have shipped him a battery - happily.

Jessica said...

I absolutely hate shopping, so I would have just searched a few places online and gone with the lowest price (including, of course, shipping). I'm about efficiency, because in the end, I think efficiency will still save you money, right? :)

Class factotum said...

Lisa, I know you would understand!

Joan, but then we would have to pay for shipping! And that would complicate the matter!

Webb, the next time, I will call you!

Jessica, I hate shopping too, so I would have bought the first batteries I found! My time is worth something!