Saturday, March 24, 2012

WHEN SOME FAT YEARS COME AFTER SO MUCH LEAN YEARS, WOULD YOU SUDDENLY GROW FAT OR STILL STAY LEAN? PART 1


Can you perceive the legs of the praying mantis? Credit:Zoofari/commons.wikimedia.org.



If you were used to the monthly salary you earn, and suddenly your boss gives you more than fifty percent (50%) bonus, what would you do with it? It’s an unexpected bonus! So many of us would embark on a wild spending spree, buy all the luxuries that we were hungry for but could not afford, then save the rest when the urge to spend wildly has been satisfied.

You never know when another bonus will be coming.

IT HAPPENED TO ME.

I faced a similar situation recently. I surf the Internet using a WIMAX USB card. This week, Monday precisely, I was surprised to log onto my account and find that my network service provider* gave me some unexpected bonus. I was beyond joy. I decided to download all the pdf ebooks and open source softwares that were accumulating in my download manager which were being saved for the neighborhood cybercafé. But my data gulping urge had its limits. Up to that limit, I saved the rest of the bonus data for the usual surfing activity: fifteen megabytes (15MB) per hour, while restraining every activity to at least fifty megabytes (50MB) per day.

I believe that I acted like every other human being who wants to save for the rainy day. We all spend from our income based on a pattern that has been established for months, even years. You know Mr. Boss is always reluctant to approve that little raise, no matter how little. So we try to count how much we spend of our monthly salaries, acquire a pattern and then stick to that pattern.

SAVINGS COME AFTER YOU’VE CLEARED YOUR DEBTS

Even when we have an unexpected bonus. Yes, even for a fifty percent (50%) bonus. I bet you’d calculate all the debts you owe from so many years – to your shoemaker, your banker, to the supermarket for that LCD screen you wanted and craved – to a certain extent. The extent of how much satisfaction you think you derive from that bonus faced with whether the bonus will come again.

Bonuses are random events. I’d never place a bet on a consecutive unexpected bonus. So, I’d be wise and prudent like before and keep a major fraction of the bonus, after satisfying a wild buying spree, in a bank account.

MONETARY OR NOT, OUR BEHAVIOR FOLLOW THE SAME PRINCIPLES

Now, the bonus was not monetary, just some data. The astonishing part of what happened that Monday morning and before I sent a “Thank You” letter to network service provider’s customer service mailbox was that my behavior followed just what has been documented for so many household spending patterns, whether the household income is high or low.

I hate being another statistic. If I had known better, I wouldn’t have gone through the data gulping spree but would rather have done something else – maybe reject the data bonus? Some joke!

Because we all want to be rational, wise and satisfied humans – of the homo sapiens genre, I mean – that Google knows that some algorithm would find me out and ask me to spend that extra data searching for some ebook which would eventually lead me to a malware dishing site and eventually crash my Firefox browser. I was warned.

* network service provider name is withheld because of privacy concerns.

The second part of the blog or part 2.


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