I don’t consider myself to be an extremely wasteful person. I like to get my dollar’s worth out of whatever I’ve got. (Except for left-overs. Honestly, why is it that you can only make chicken noodle soup for six to eight people and then have to spend the next week looking at the biggest Tupperware in the house sitting in the fridge and thinking, ‘I should take that for lunch today but if I eat any more chicken noodle soup, it will result in a super-virus developing that is completely immune to the healing power of chicken, vegetables, broth and bloated noodles. For the good of the world, I believe I should have three 89 cent chalupas…And cinnamon twists.’ )
The other day, I needed to buy more floss, something I’ve only had to do a half dozen times in my life. On my way home from work, I stopped by the store and picked up three or four spools/boxes/cases/containers/whatever-unit-defines floss and paid a whopping $4.34 for all of it. Now I have a ‘thing’ of floss in my car, at work for after lunch, in my bathroom at home and an extra just in case my two year old gets a hold of any of the other ones and drop them into the toilet and I have to wait for it to dry out.
While I was selecting my floss, I was struck by the thought that I actually care if I waste it. And then I was immediately struck by how strange that is. Each container has 100 yards of floss inside. Each container costs $1 plus tax - $1.08. So each yard of floss costs slightly over $0.01. That’s it. Once cent for three feet of floss. That’s 36 inches. That’s 0.9144 meters for any metric users out there. That is a heck of a bargain. I can’t think of anything else that I get a yard of for a penny. And on top of that, I don’t use a full yard when I floss. I use maybe a foot to a foot and a half so my average floss cost per use is between 1/3 and ½ of an American cent!
This has got to be the cheapest thing in my life!
And yet, whenever I’m preparing to floss, get distracted and tear off a piece too short to wrap around my fingers several times and still have the ideal span for proper cleaning, I suffer through it. I force myself to be uncomfortable with my floss because I can’t waste the piece of waxed string that cost me less than 1/3 of a penny. I have to use it. Something inside tells me that it is a sin to just throw away the too-short piece. I don’t remember ever being taught that floss wasting is defined in Leviticus as one of the big no-no’s but somehow, that belief is just as real as my wife’s belief that trees hibernate for winter.
Why is it that I can’t throw away the short piece and write off the 1/3 cent and yet, I have no problem not reaching the bottom of a $7 tub of popcorn at a movie theater? Or why do I let me car idle for twenty minutes with the heat on high on winter mornings so I don’t have to scrape the ice of the windows, but little Mr. Floss is too precious to just discard?
Does anyone else have this problem or a similar ridiculous priority paradigm? Share in comments below. I’d love to know what similar or other kinds of crazy there is out there.