I was thinking about situations where spouses have had disagreements on interesting things, and remembered a situation from over 10 years ago involving a coworker and his nightmarish travel experiences. This trip actually involved a friendly argument that was money-related, which he relayed to me in a subsequent conversation asking me what I thought about it.
Basically, the way he described it, he and his wife had taken a trip to Europe during that summer. I don’t recall where exactly, but I’m pretty sure his last stop was London. Anyway, the flight was overbooked, which must have been an issue for the airline at the time. This was also an issue for this coworker and his wife, because they were flying just two days before having to go back to work. If I recall, their flight was supposed to be on a Saturday, and they were to go back to work on the following Monday.
He had shared with me that they had the opportunity to be bumped from that flight to another flight the next day. In exchange, they would each get a free one way ticket from London to the U.S. Not for this trip which was already paid for, but for a future trip.
To him, this was a no-brainer. They would simply fly on Sunday instead of Saturday, and would get a free flight in exchange. Considering how expensive cr0ss-Atlantic flights can be, this seemed like a great opportunity for very little cost. That cost would simply be moving the flight by one day, and not having a day off before going back to work on Monday.
To his wife, it was not so appealing. She didn’t like the idea of having to go in to work tired, and really felt stressed about not having that one day buffer. One might suspect that the fear of not performing well at work would be the motivator here.
What do you think happened? You guessed it, they didn’t take the free ticket. They actually bypassed it, and came back home on that Saturday.
At the time, I thought it seemed like such a crazy story that maybe he had some facts wrong or perhaps he didn’t communicate it well. I mean, why would someone just give up a free ticket? But, that’s exactly what happened.
Clearly, at the time, I agreed with him. Of course one should be careful in telling someone who you agree that his wife was out of her mind. Even though he could say it, that doesn’t give others free license to pile on. So, diplomatically I let him know that I would feel the same way and would have taken the ticket at the expense of being tired for work. What’s one tough day at the office, right?
Fast-forward to now. As I think about it, if this situation came up today for me, I would want to turn it down. Sure, I still enjoy the idea of free – especially free airfare! However, I wouldn’t want to exhaust myself for the work week. After all, a free ticket is great but at what expense?
It’s almost penny-wise and dollar-foolish (or pound-foolish?), I think, to choose short-term gain for risking things at work. It might depend on the type of job one has, the pressures there, job market in your field or location, or some other factor. But I think that now, years later, I agree with the guy’s wife . She wasn’t crazy after all 🙂
My Questions for You
What would you do in this case?
In terms of the best course of action, do you agree with the guy, or do you agree with his wife?
Can you see how one would change views on this over time, based on age or life experience?