Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Cost of Late

I am driving through the airport departure lanes when the valet parking sign catches my eye.

$49 AIRPORT PARKING VALET

That's a hefty price, and I wonder who uses the service and under what circumstances a person would pay for it. I can think of only one circumstance in which I would benefit: If I were running late, I sure would appreciate the valet service.

Each time I use my bank's online bill pay service, I enjoy the convenience. It allows me to take the bill and within hours, take care of it. The bill may not be due for another month, but I fill in the payment and set the date for it to be paid. It's a free service, yet there is a $7.95 fee if the bill needs expediting. If I were running behind on my bill paying, I'd appreciate the expedited service and would much prefer the $8.00 fee over a company late fee.

Again, lateness has a cost.

My daughter's employer frequently repeats his time conscious mantra: If you're early, you're on time; if you're on time, you're late. If you're late, don't bother showing up.

She started working for him as an impressionable teenager, and I'm thankful for the impact he's had on her punctuality. I notice it's one of her strengths.

Punctuality hasn't always been one of mine. I often try to fit in one more thing before the last second when I can still make it on time. This is a foolish practice, because all the lights aren't always green, and the unexpected is to be expected.

I was mostly cured when I read: Being late is a selfish habit; in essence, it is a manifestation of a belief that one's time is more valuable than everyone else's.

Another advantage to a punctual lifestyle, is that when we are delayed, by circumstance or choice of a higher matter, the table to which we come late, based on passed performance, will KNOW, we are delayed with good reason.

A second cure comes in the realization that the cost of being late isn't only monetary. There may be a cost to reputation and to confidence other's have in us. We're no longer dependable to the people who may need us most--on time.

I still haven't figured out what the title in Thomas Friedman's latest book, Thank You For Being Late, literally means; I'm just hoping his popular commentary on the 21st century doesn't undermine the age old virtues of timeliness.