I am a Treasurer on a local committee, whose task it is to bring a Christmas street market to my local town.
We raise sponsorship from local business and in turn the street market will boost Christmas trade it is hoped. Of course to do this, we need the approval of various local authorities, one being our county council. To hold the market, we need permission to close streets, and guess what, there is a small opportunity cost of doing this.
The street has about 15 parking spaces, which are chargeable at a rate of say €1.50 per hour from 08:00 to 18:00. The local council makes the assumption these spaces will be filled – which is probably quite fair – and the have to be paid for the parking revenue lost. This is a classic opportunity cost example, as they lose revenue by granting permission to hold the market, and thus are choosing one option over another. They probably could also add on lost revenues from tickets for illegal parking – I’d be quite sure there are more than one of these each day – but I will keep quiet on that one 🙂
In November last year I wrote about hidden costs. You may have seen this story below doing the rounds in the internet. It made me stop to think for a while – a hidden cost of work perhaps!
“A man came home from work late, tired and irritated, to find his 5-year old son waiting for him at the door.
SON: ‘Daddy, may I ask you a question?’
DAD: ‘Yeah sure, what it is?’ replied the man.
SON: ‘Daddy, how much do you make an hour?’
DAD: ‘That’s none of your business. Why do you ask such a thing?’ the man said angrily.
SON: ‘I just want to know. Please tell me, how much do you make an hour?’
DAD: ‘If you must know, I make $50 an hour.’
SON: ‘Oh,’ the little boy replied, with his head down.
SON: ‘May I please borrow $25?’
The father was furious, ‘If the only reason you asked that is so you can borrow some money to buy a silly toy or some other nonsense, then you march yourself straight to your room and go to bed. Think about why you are being so selfish. I don’t work hard everyday for such childish frivolities.’ The little boy quietly went to his room and shut the door.
The man sat down and started to get even angrier about the little boy’s questions. How dare he ask such questions only to get some money?After about an hour or so, the man had calmed down and started to think:Maybe there was something he really needed to buy with that $25.00 and he really didn’t ask for money very often The man went to the door of the little boy’s room and opened the door.
‘Are you asleep, son?’ He asked.
‘No daddy, I’m awake,’ replied the boy.
‘I’ve been thinking, maybe I was too hard on you earlier’ said the man. ‘It’s been a long day and I took out my aggravation on you. Here’s the $25 you asked for.’
The little boy sat straight up, smiling. ‘Oh, thank you daddy!’ he yelled. Then, reaching under his pillow he pulled out some crumpled up bills. The man saw that the boy already had money and started to get angry again.The little boy slowly counted out his money, and then looked up at his father. ‘Why do you want more money if you already have some?’ the father grumbled. ‘Because I didn’t have enough, but now I do,’ the little boy replied. ‘Daddy, I have $50 now. Can I buy an hour of your time? Please come home early tomorrow. I would like to have dinner with you.’ The father was crushed. He put his arms around his little son, and he begged for his forgiveness.”