Money For Nothing

Forty years ago a little-known group called Dire Straits released a song that mocked MTV and most pop culture connected to the iconic creation. But they weren’t wrong. Long before Brandons or Karens, there were innovators engineering new ways to glean a penny from a dime.

It’s the “trust” for me. For most of our lives, we unwittingly spent money without considering where the extra goes. We bought things at the suggested retail price, grew tired of it before we even considered the depreciated value, and discard it even sooner.

Interestingly, those who refuse to get rid of their pop gadgets and fashions are ridiculed as hoarders. Strangely, they see a value in things that others do not. Intrinsic value is still value. As is sentimental value. But the psychologists call this an ailment best classified in the DSM-IV. The rest of us are “normal” because we buy overpriced things and throw them away.

I think value hits differently when we can actually afford something.

In reality, we often overlook the actual cost of our purchases and/or investments:

Purchase price
Practicality
Durability/reliability
Cost of financing
Satisfaction with the product/service
Availability
Replacement costs
Maintenance
Serviceability
Supply/demand
How long it will be fashionable
Long term value
Trade-in value/depreciation

How will you apply this theory? Does it only apply to goods and services? Could it apply to “other” things?

When we pay for something, we don’t ask about the profit margin. We don’t consider the innovation, research, or development. At best we might imply that we’d like to see the fortunes we spend result in responsible benefits for the employees or charitable contributions to a non-profit. But if those perks translate into inflated prices, then all deals are off!

We want transparency but we don’t want to invest energy. For the purposes of this idea, money is energy.

We might engage if we thought we have something to gain.

How much would you pay for trust? What would you invest? Should you invest even a penny? Or how about a dime? Are you willing to play a game? Would you be more willing to engage in an experiment? Let’s develop a compromise and call it an experience.

We can not buy trust. But we can lease it.

Here’s how it will work. Without knowing for certain where your money will go, transfer one penny. By doing so, you invest some time by learning where your money is going. Once you have more information, lend me a dime. By offering me the opportunity to send it back, you are leasing trust.

But if you like the prospect, and you trust the process, donate a dollar. You won’t get the dollar back, but I’ll appreciate the cup of coffee you’d be buying me.

Intrigued yet? Give it a try!

Now let’s recap:

(1) transfer a penny. It will not be returned, but you’ve learned something about yourself.

(2) lend a dime. I’ll send it right back, and you’ve practiced the art of trust.

(3) donate a dollar. I’ll accept your contribution for my coffee and add you to my subscription list.

I look forward to seeing what you decide.

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