Thursday, June 18, 2009

Time is Money

I took my roommate up to the airport yesterday morning for her early morning flight. After she was all checked in and through security , I looked at my watch and decided to take the bus home since it was only 6 a.m. and I still had a few hours before I was to meet someone. The two hour trip home gave me a good opportunity to consider how the values of time and money are vastly different between the east and the west.

In the west we are all about saving ourselves time. We will willingly pay a little extra money to have food delivered to our house... we like our one hour photo finishing. We are all about pre- packaged food and minimum prep time. Even the fact that every house hold has a car, a washer & dyer, microwave, and dishwasher are examples of how we spend money to save time. To us it would be totally reasonable to pay someone to do a task for us, or pay the premium if it will save us an hour of our time. We value time over money.

It is the opposite here, and I proved it with my bus ride home. It would have cost me less than $8 to take a taxi right from the airport to my front door. The whole trip would have taken no more than 30 minutes. But instead the local mindset has started to sink in. I figured why pay eight dollars, when I could walk 15 minutes, sit/stand on a crowded bus for an 1 1/2 hours, and then walk another 15 minutes back to my place for the low, low price of only 30 cents.

People here will often walk for 20-30minutes to go to the store that is selling vegetables pennies cheaper, they will stand in long lines and spend long periods of time haggling over the smallest price variations. Almost all meals are still prepared from scratch and while you can find microwaves for sale, they are not that common in homes. Here people are willing to spend as much time as it takes to save a buck.

Time is money or money is time, I guess it all depends on what you value.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

At least this time your bus experience didn't involve slipping on the ice! Just 4 months ago you were taking your little kitten to the airport to ship her off. BTW- even though I'm in the US, I still make most things from scratch since that's how I learned to cook them when I lived on your side. I should send the recipe for the brownies I made last night!