If we’re so opposed to overpaying, why do we buy water for $4.00 a bottle?

As of this moment, if you live in the United States, clean, clear water is available within a few feet of where you are right this moment. In a year the average American consumes more than 30 gallons of bottle water per year.  1999-2017 per capita consumption. Individually we each spend at least a $100 per year on water in a bottle.  Considering in 1976 the average American bought 1.5 gallons of bottled water per year, the market has been booming for this overpriced product.

If clean, safe drinking water can be had for pennies for a ton we are overpaying by….(Do the math here). Think about this, often we decide against a purchase over the financial difference of a percentage of less than 5%.   In competitive real estate markets the same people who pay hundreds and hundred of a percent over the price of water drop out of the negotiations for fear of looking silly for overpaying.   Nothing wrong with that of course, but compared to the craziness of buying free water in a plastic bottle for $2.00 a bottle, overpaying for a home which may increase in value along with all its other attributes seems like a smart decision to be applauded. Of course the amount we overpay isn’t available to spend on plastic bottle water.

The Dignity of Your Unique Skills

Big Potential. Author Shawn Achor makes the case that we all have unique skills. Alone, those skills serve us well. When you and I and him and her combine our skills is when our skills serve others exponentially.  The pursuit of achievement alone will never exceed the achievement of collaboration and respect for the skills, talents, vision of a collective effort.

Real estate licensees who empower their clients to be part of the evaluation of information, and a partner in the strategy decision prove the power of collaboration of unique skills and may not even know it.  The same for firms. Top down authoritarian corporate cultures are especially effective at restricting creativity and customization. That’s fine if your goal is to turn the art of real estate into assembly line work. And who wants to be part of that?

To see the power of respecting the dignity of someone’s work for what it means to the world as opposed to respecting a person’s position or bank account, look no further than the grocery store checkout.  As your items are rung up and passed down to the end of the conveyor the work of shopping is not done. The quality of products you selected depends on the skill of the person with the bag in their hand. The groceries are coming down the line in random disorder. Bread first, fruit second, cans and pounds of meat mixed in.  Watch the person share their skill; it’ll matter when you get home, but you may not think about it unless something is squished. The person bagging our groceries has developed a skill of bagging, not just similar products in one bag, but products which will protect the food items from contamination and physical damage. Notice the bags are relatively equal in weight. All of the space is used, yet none of the bags are overloaded. And more often than not, every bag fits nicely into the cart for you to wheel out to your car.

Bruised fruit, flat bread, meat touching cleaning products will catch our attention. Those that aren’t will be used in meals we prepare with our skills. The meal is better because the skills of more than yourself came together.  See the dignity in all work and give respect to the the person who excels at their work regardless of whether or not it’s a job we would or could do. Consider this, who do you want bagging your groceries? The person who cares enough to do it right, or the $100 million  a year CEO who hasn’t seen the inside of grocery store since before scanners?