Welcome to my blog, Adventures in Business Casual. We'll focus on economics as it relates to real life, because I like economics and adventures, and I wear business casual six days a week. I'll write what I wore that day at the end, for all you economically-minded fashionistas (and those of you who wonder why adventure books describe the scenery and not the outfits).
As a college student in NYC, I have developed a love for bargain-hunting. While I would never stoop to the level of "freegan," finding deals is a way for me to compete and gloat without being rude. Last night, I saw that today Jamba Juice would be selling select flavors for $1 (today only)! Even though I'm home for the summer and no longer have to live on cereal and grilled cheese, I was still pretty excited for sale smoothies. I also had to get the oil changed in my car, so I figured my Jamba would be a nice touch to sitting in the waiting dungeon of the dealership.
I left work and set out for a little R&R (rebated refreshment) - last night, I had searched for the nearest Jamba Juice to my office, and routed a happy trip from office to beverage to dingy-room-full-of-old-magazines-and-mildly-scary-people, as I am notoriously bad with directions. I had my course loaded on my phone, and set off confident, stomach rumbling.
I got on the highway, exited appropriately, and followed the directions - down to the Google-Maps-instructed U-turn (because everyone knows, most roads simply won't allow you to turn left on the first try). The problem was, I couldn't see any building numbers, so I didn't know if I was close to smoothie heaven or not. I turned into a parking lot and looked at my route - deciding written directions weren't enough, I used my phone's map feature to see my blue dot in relation to the red dot of bargain beverage. I didn't know, but it was actually the address of the car dealership. Oops. So, I hung a U, and put in the right address. Except, bummer for me, it was STILL THE CAR DEALERSHIP'S ADDRESS. So after hanging a U and still not seeing Jamba, I hung another U and could only see car dealerships. I found another parking lot, realized my mistake, and put in the really, really, really right address, and drove there easily, only accidentally cutting off one minivan in the parking lot.
It took me 25 minutes to drive to the Jamba Juice that should have taken seven minutes to get to. Super. But, it was still $1 Jamba - yum. I'm also trying a new thing called "flirting in no-risk situations," because unlike business casual and economics, flirting isn't one of my natural talents. However, like practicing anything else, from sports to piano to spilling oil like BP, it's best to start small and work up. So I started with being smiley, pleasant, asking questions, and still smiling when the guy condescendingly called me "honey" and wrote my name as "Alexander." I wonder how many Alexanders he's seen come through wanting a "Pomegranate Pick Me Up" in a pencil skirt?
I then got back in the car and realized that I had spent 30 minutes getting my smoothie (I make $10 an hour at my desk job, but had budgeted seven minutes, so the 23 extra minutes cost me $3.33) and I drove around five extra miles (my adorable car gets great gas mileage, so I'm saying this cost me about $.60). Add that to the $1.07 cost of the smoothie with tax, and I spent $5.00 for my "bargain" beverage. Not to mention I almost died three times because people wouldn't let me over into the left lane to hang a U (and the mom from the parking lot shot me a death glare), and when I got to the dealership they said that after 4:30 they really couldn't do anything, and since it was 4:20 I should probably come in in the morning and take their shuttle to work. Wheeeeee.
In economics there are a lot of hidden costs - opportunity costs, like what I could have been doing with that half hour (in my calculations, I figured I could have spent it working), or even the $.07 sales tax. Frequently I find that my bargain-hunting involves trade-offs between time and money. Or in this case, between turning around five times with the satisfaction of a deal hunted, and paying a couple extra bucks for an unnecessary snack like anyone with a good sense of direction.
And I did all of this in:
Gray-brown pencil skirt, lime green and white patterned tube top, white and gold crocheted shrug, bamboo earrings, gun-metal-gray owl necklace, and black patent peep-toe slingbacks with wicker wedges.