Tuesday, December 16, 2008

When 'Stupidity' Becomes Costly

Have you ever felt really stupid?  Has being "stupid" ever cost you?  I've had more than my share of those moments.  Often it's not actual stupidity, but the feeling of stupidity that really seems costly.  Like today for example.

I had the day off today.  It wasn't vacation—it was a floating holiday.  I've never known exactly what that means, because I didn't really celebrate much of anything today (except that I had the day off), and it didn't seem like I was floating at all.  In fact, gravity kept me down all day.  But I digress.  I had the day off, so it seemed like the perfect day to finally have an electrician come to the house and figure out what was wrong with our main kitchen light.

When our light first went out, I checked all the fuses.  Nothing.  Then I bought new lamps and changed them.  Nothing.  Then I bought a voltage meter and checked the electric current going through certain wires.  Nothing.  Or at least I thought nothing.

Admittedly, it had been out for a little while.  However, with three other secondary lights on, it was quite luminous.  But the thought of paying an electrician for something I thought I should be able to figure out was discouraging.  Amy was, rightly so, "encouraging" me to get it fixed.  Yesterday, the day finally arrived to schedule an appointment for today.  The professional came this morning.

Robert is a great guy.  Super nice, and he knows what he's doing.  Unlike me apparently.  In short order he checked the same basic electric current issues in the same basic ways I did using the same basic voltage meter.  But he also found what he thought was the problem.  He told me he could go to Lowe's to buy a ballast that seemed to be the issue.  No extra charge for the service call except the ballast cost itself.  I said sure.

He came back, and was working away.  We had a nice chat.  We talked about our kids.  I invited him to my church and found out that he is a deacon at his.  Like I said, super guy.

Okay, all done—check the switch.  Presto...the light is working again.  The ballast cost: $30.  The company's standard service call: more than I care to admit.  Worth it, due to my stupidity, but still—I'm just sayin'.  I then tipped Robert beyond the service charge, because of his good service.

If I had known what I was doing, beyond the lamps and voltage meter, I could have simply spent $30, and that would have done it.  Instead, I feel really stupid for not possessing some basic knowledge of electricity, which could have saved me my arm and my leg.  I still think I should have been able to figure it out.

So, help me out.  Have you ever felt stupid?  So stupid that it cost you?  I can think of multiple car repair items, home repairs, finding coupons or sales immediately after purchasing something...you name it, I've paid for it.  I'm hoping at least one person will comment with a story—so that I can at least feel better. :)