I earned my money wrangling carts at Sam’s Club. Sometimes I wonder if my life would have turned out different, had it been a Costco. There were no Costcos around here, back then. Sam’s Club was the only place to level up from the smaller carriages of Kroger.
My hard earned cash often made its way across the five lanes of suburban traffic to Best Buy. Digital Versatile Discs, mostly. But that day, my gaze landed on something that exchanged consumption for production. The utility of a Palm Pilot.
Taking notes. Keeping contact information. Managing a calendar. A pocket sized reference. I invested in my future twenty dollars below the manufacturers suggested retail price of $199.
A box of keepsakes accompanies my parents’ visit to my new home. Among other mistakes, a Palm Pilot. It’s a $199 reminder of broken promises to myself.
It turns out the contact list of the humble Nokia 6100 was a sufficient vehicle to carry my weakest bonds into the smart phone era. My teenage calendar never grew unmanageable beyond my working memory. The digital assistant hadn’t freed up any of my time. It was the expensive toy of an early adopter.
Hovering over the electronics recycling bin, I hesitate. This has to be worth something, still. It was supposed to be an investment that would produce greater results. It’s painful to recognize it as the consumable that it was.
I’ve built momentum though. My cat of nine tails of Apple headphones sit on top of a pile of s-video cables. I remember when I lost my first pair, with the sting of a $30 replacement. Now there are dozens. Dingy cords. An evolution of ear shapes. While they remain useful, they’re no longer used.
I lean hard into an understanding of the sunk cost fallacy. And now my closet is a little bit cleaner. My conscience will catch up some day.