I just wasted a few minutes trying to decide which copy of Richard Feynman’s Six Easy Pieces to buy. This isn’t much time, but it’s over absolutely nothing. I was deciding on the basis of a few dimes, while trying to suss out the hidden differences between boilerplate “used-good” listings.
The bigger issue is that I do this a lot, and it’s often worse with small decisions. I suppose I’m getting better overall, but no matter how I slice it, I’m on track to waste at least a day of my total lifetime on this trivia.
Writing this out now may help me later, so here are answers to actual concerns I just had. Say I waste 80 cents buying a nicer quality book. That’s the same amount of money I’ll spend on gas driving within my own neighborhood today alone. Say I get a beat-up copy with some underlined passages. I write in my books and beat them up myself anyway. Say I get a remaindered book, when it wasn’t in the description. I don’t love those felt-tip marker lines on the spine, but a book is better off in my hands than in a landfill. For the love of everything Holy, if I do get a truly bad copy, one email to the Amazon Marketplace seller will get me a full refund. They’ll probably even let me keep the book.
So, where’s the downside again? There’s only a downside if I waste seconds the next time I need to make a small decision. Here’s to hoping future-me remembers this lesson.