Putting a Price Tag on Your Productivity
There’s a display panel on my wheelchair that lets me know what “gear” I’m in and when it’s time to recharge the battery. Most people mount it using a long metal adjustable arm. But that arm doesn’t fit my lifestyle. It gets in the way. So since I got the chair, I just let mine hang on my armrest. I don’t need to see it. I can feel the on-off switch, and it beeps 4 times to let me know I’m in maximum speed mode.
A couple of weeks ago, the display found itself on the wrong side of the seat belt in my van. When I reversed my chair away from the van’s steering wheel, the seat belt yanked the cord leading to the display which exposed colorful wires and immediately, my chair stopped working completely. I jiggled the wires for a minute and quickly got the right response: “Beep beep!”
Cool. I exited the van and went about my business for about 10 minutes before I engaged the joystick and felt no response. I jiggled the cords again for about 5 minutes. “Beep beep!” I struggled through the day like this, but each time I jiggled the cords, it seemed like it took longer to get the “Beep beep!”
I called Joey, the guy who fixes my chair. He ordered a replacement display panel. So for the next week, I was jiggling and waiting. Each time, I wondered whether there was going to BE a “Beep beep!”
Finally, the part arrived.
“It’s going to be $800.”
Things suddenly happened in my brain. I Googled “Electrician in Ocean Springs, Mississippi” and AG Electronics popped up.
“We don’t do medical equipment. We do mostly construction,” the dude said. I worked him like a sales rep gunning for a big commission, telling him not to worry if he did further damage because it’s already broken.
“At least come take a look at it!” I emailed him some photos of the part and he agreed to come give it a try.
I was confident when I saw him arrive wearing the little flashlight headband. His name was Gilbert. After getting the proper tools, he removed six screws holding the box together. Carefully, he gently pulled the box apart to take a peek inside. He was slow and steady in his movements so as not allow any of the many parts inside to fall out.
Now, was it the pink wire? The blue wire? The red? The yellow? Which one needed to be reattached? Did Gilbert have the steady hands to do the job?
All of the wires led to a white plastic plug that had simply been pulled apart! He plugged the two pieces back together! Job done. Beep beep!
I did my Strength Coach “fist pump” and happily gave him my credit card, which was billed $75! We talked about business and compared our receding hairlines. I made a new friend. The next day, Joey sent the replacement part back to the manufacturer. My savings? $725!
Moral of the story? I guess if you’re properly motivated, you can get creative and think outside the box. (Sorry, not an intentional pun but it survived the edit!) The $800 price tag on the replacement box is what motivated me to seek another solution.
How can I use this lesson going forward? I think there is a price tag on not fully thinking things through to the best solution. We also pay for the calls we don’t make and the projects we don’t finish. There is a price tag on the steps to success we have identified but not taken action on. Maybe that $750 I saved by making that call is just a drop in the bucket compared to the value of following through with the plans that lead to my dream come true. Maybe it is time to start monetizing my motivation.
Broke wheelchair. Needed new part. Ordered it. $800!!!!? Called electrician. Fixed it. Bill $75. Had new part returned. Savings $725!
— Greg Smith (@strengthcoach) June 8, 2013