Open Your Mind

open-your-mindI was speaking with a customer today about weather patterns in the past and we both agreed that most often in years gone by, the period between December 15th and January 15th were the absolute worst days to endure. Too many years can be remembered where sub-zero temperatures placed stress on travel as well as the fear of being caught in a snowstorm. It’s never fun going outside and finding after a short while one’s face beginning to hurt from the burning cold. As the 15th of January is only about six days away, we should be moving towards there not being back-to-back days of sub-zero temperatures as we travel in the direction of Spring.

I had to laugh to myself tonight after walking out of a store where my purchase came to a total on the register of $52.98. I reached in my wallet and pulled out three twenties and three ones and handed them to the clerk. She looked at the register, then looked at the money in her hand, and then started handing me back a one. I kindly said to her, “If you ring this in your register, you will give me back a ten and I will leave the two cents in the devil’s cup.” She looked at the money again and then at the register and finally rung it up. She then found that I was getting back a ten and two pennies. I dropped the two cents in the cup and left. She seemed a bit annoyed by the whole transaction but I absolutely didn’t do anything to confuse her. She confused herself because she wasn’t used to people paying with enough to get at least a larger bill and less change back rather than many ones and a handful of change. It makes me sad in that our culture we’ve become so computer dependent that we find ourselves being slaves to whatever the computers spit out. Computers are great time saving tools as well as libraries of information, but we absolutely must not become so dependent on them that we forget how to calculate and even think out of the box in solving a problem.

Long ago when I used to do some accounting and balancing of books, some considered me a bit of a whiz in finding mistakes more easily than others doing the same thing. The trick for me was in understanding that mistakes are normally made when entering amounts and realizing there are patterns of numeric transpositions. For example, if someone entered $200.00 rather than $20.00 and visa-versa, there would be a +- difference of $180.00. Similarly if someone transposed $76.00 with $67.00, then the account would be out of balance by $9.00.

I find it having an effect of what people consider costs of repairs and improvements on homes they view. Almost always, they over-estimate the costs of repairs or improvements–especially if they do it themselves. I entered into a bit of a challenge with a young buyer I was working with last summer. He insisted that the costs of re-painting the whole interior of his new home would cost likely $4,000.00. I assured him if he purchased mid-grade materials, it wouldn’t be more than $1,500 – $2,000. Some time later he was good enough to admit he was wrong and announced that the costs came in at around $1,700.00. Over-pricing the costs of improvements sometimes create missed opportunities when purchasing a home with good bones. Before dismissing an idea, take a little time and open your mind.