Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A penny's worth of thoughts on nickel-and-diming

Yesterday on ESPN, I heard that the owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars not only fired head coach Jack Del Rio, but also sold the team. The network’s analysts then went into a segment about everything that was wrong with the Jags (it’s a stretch to call it a segment, though, because it lasted roughly an hour). While they recounted the Jaguars’ rough year, one of the analysts said something like, “It all began when they cut David Garrard at the beginning of the season, but at least they saved millions of dollars.”

To paraphrase the Bible, I wept.

Garrard, for those of you unfamiliar with Jaguars football, was their starting quarterback. He was criticized for being inconsistent, but he showed flashes of greatness throughout his tenure. His firing was a surprise to many, because it seemed like trying to repair a junked car by breaking one of the last two functioning lights (the other bulb being Maurice Jones-Drew). Any sense that move made was more than canceled out by Garrard’s replacement, Blaine Gabbert, who is ... well, I’m sure he’s trying his best.

They suck and the front-office decisions aren’t helping, is what I’m saying.

Anyway, the analyst’s quote really got me to thinking about what we hold dear. And in these trying times, it seems that frugality, even at the expense of quality or common sense, trumps all. We want a good deal. And the definition of a good deal is money in our pockets. But since when is money the only thing with any value? I’m not just talking about sports, either; it’s true everywhere. Saving money is the only thing that matters anymore, even if it goes against common sense. I can understand the pressures to cut back on spending in these extraordinarily lean times, but this is ridiculous. Especially since it’s so selective — after all, many of the same Americans will blow all their dough on things they don’t need, just because of the perception that they’re getting a good deal.

Spending money to “save” money is ridiculous. Not spending available money when you need to spend money is equally ridiculous. No matter what kind of economic times we live in, we all have needs. And it should never be considered a victory to save money when not spending it is unconscionable or otherwise a miserly act. And that’s true on all levels — personal, athletic, government, etc.

Money is a valuable commodity and should be spent responsibly. But some assets are more important. After all, there’s a reason money has worth; it’s to buy things that are even more intrinsically vital. Just ask the Jaguars. I’m sure they’re bubbly from all the money they saved this season.


venessalewis said...

This made me think of extreme couponing for some reason. I think it was the line about spending to save is ridiculous. And then my train of thought carried to what if the the NFL had big coupons when it came to draft/trade time etc.? Hey! I've got 50% off running time only! Buy Tim Tebow we'll throw in free salvation! was funny to me.

Ian McGibboney said...

I always thought Tim Tebow should be paid in loaves and fishes, and should bring his own water to the bar. If he didn't think bars were the devil.