Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Spending $11 to save $11

Our dog has taken to chewing up the covers of hardcover library books. Never chews up softcovers, and never chews up our own hardcovers, although we have many. Just library books that don't have the plastic covers on them. She chewed up Moby Dick from DK1's school library, which I'm not sure we've come clean about yet, and now she chewed the corners off of Serious Farm by Tim Egan, which is one of our favorite books by one of our favorite authors. (If you have kids, check him out.)

We returned the book and got an email that day from the library saying uh-uh-uh, you need to pay us for this book. They wanted to charge us $15 for the book and $7 for a "processing fee." We know from past experience that if you present them with a usable copy of the book they will charge only the processing fee, so I went on Amazon and found a used hardcover copy ("very good condition") of the book for, get this, $0.01. That's right, 1 penny. Of course, there's the $3.99 service charge, but it still gives us a total of $4.00, meaning that, with the processing fee, my dog's chew toy will cost us $11 instead of $22. We also get a slightly chewed copy of Serious Farm for our trouble.

If I could figure out a way to get my dog to stop doing this, it would cost even less.


Ariella said...

But aren't there far greater expenses in owning a dog, like fees for the vet, dog food, etc?

rebmoti said...

Well, sure - having a dog is more expensive than not having a dog. Having kids is more expensive than not. Keeping kosher is more expensive than not, belonging to a shul is more expensive than not. But this shows that saving money isn't the only value to consider.

In addition to the companionship and emotional connection to a dog, there are lessons of responsibility and concern for another living creature that we teach and learn from having a pet.

If you read the blog you'll notice that there are sometimes places where I make the more expensive choice in order to fulfill some other value - organic food, for instance. That's how I know that saving money is one, but only one, of my important values.