I don’t know what it is about human beings.
We almost always wind up having to learn the same lessons over and over again. I’m no different in that regard. I keep thinking I can do stuff better than the people who do stuff for a living. Maybe I think having someone do stuff would cost too much.
I think part of it is we are encouraged to use the Internet and save money by doing it ourselves. For me, it doesn’t seem to work that way. Take airline tickets, for example. I don’t travel often but when I do, I try not to be a big spender. I usually try to make all the travel arrangements myself on the web. Over time it has probably cost me a small fortune to “do it myself.” It felt good at the time.
In May, I bought a round trip ticket to Houston on United Airlines. I bought it directly from them to save money. Right. Probably not. Anyhow, I cancelled the May flight and have some credit pending on the ticket waiting for me at United.
I am planning another trip and thought I would use what was left of that ticket as partial payment. I shopped and shopped at United. The best I could do was almost $800 at a time that wasn’t really convenient for my ride.
So I thought, “Maybe I can find a deal on another airline that will let me keep the United ticket and go to Hawaii for about the same price.” Lots of luck, you say. Well, I shopped another airline. Hawaii, Alaska, Southwest – the best I could do was just more than $700.
I was really discouraged. I thought, “Why don’t I let Joan (Joan Lovell at Advantage Travel, a friend and fellow Rotarian) see what she can do.” So I did and this is what she was able to do: round trip from the airport of my choice at a time that was convenient for less than $400.
The “lots of luck” idea turn out to be a reality. So I can go to Hawaii and to Texas for about the same cost as going to Hawaii alone on United. There has to be a moral in this somewhere. There is. Let the people who really know how to do it, do it. It sure paid off for me in this case.
It also is going to pay off for me in another way. I have always been a do-it-yourself person. I realize now that I have probably been pushing myself to satisfy my ego. I’m going to make it a point to say, “No,” to myself more and let the experts do it. I’m at a time in my life when I am getting less and less able – or effective – anyway. I just wish I had done this years (and many thousands of dollars) ago.
A New Year’s resolution in September.
Has anyone out there had the same kind of experience as I have? I’d be interested in hearing about it. Maybe we can exchange ideas and all do a little better. What do you think?
Murray Bass can be reached at 427-0744 or firstname.lastname@example.org.