“Bring the Nanny– The Cost is Priceless”
I was traveling a couple of weeks ago and changed planes in Salt Lake City, Utah. As I went to my next gate, there was a lady there who had a pair of 2 1/2 year old twins, a 6 year old, Grand-Ma and her. She was fervently talking with the gate agent, trying to get her seats all together. For some strange reason, the airline had all 5 people in 5 different seats, all over the airplane! The more she talked, the more interested it was, as we were all trying to figure out what what going on!
Finally, I said, “You are a lawyer, right?” She said, “Yes, how could you tell?” I said, “Oh, no special reason, I just imagined that perhaps you practiced law.” Well, she said that she had been a prosecuting attorney in the East, however, they now lived in Portland, Oregon where her husband was the CEO of some company. She commented that she had paid $586 to fly the Nanny from Portland to Salt Lake City, however, had elected to NOT fly the Nanny to the final destination. As she was working on re-arranging the seats for her family, she discovered, unfortunately, that perhaps paying to have the Nanny fly to the terminal destination was probably a great idea!
I did volunteer my seat, which was in the row she needed! She was happy– all of her party could be together and I got a first class upgrade!
As I reflected upon her decision not to pay to take the Nanny to the final destination– I often wonder how many times people make sub optimal decisions? The decision was sub optimal in this case, for the lady found out that having to manhandle a pair of twins under 3, a 6 year old and Grand-Ma all by herself was much more challenging than she had originally envisioned, irregardless of cost! Although cost is normally a variable in most decisions we in business make, it is not the only decision variable that should allowed to be controlling. Time, convenience, and lack of hassle are all factors that also should be included in the decision calculus.
In the case of this lady, we all arrived at the terminal destination no worse for wear!!! The kids all travelled well, Grand-Ma did not yet need a nap and Mom did not seem overly stressed out!! However, when we got into the airport, the lady did thank me for being willing to change seats and did say that retrospectively, she should have bit the bullet and brought the nanny with her!
When you make decisions, don’t sub optimize all of the decision variables. Price/cost is one key variable, however, there are many other key variables that need to be considered as well. I talk a lot about cost and price. That is my job. However, many times there are reasons that although cost is a key component, there are other components that are equally important! Think carefully before you dismiss cost as overriding!