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November 08, 2021

The staggering costs of waiting for the cable guy

Productivity is a tough thing to measure.

For instance, everyone knows March Madness, with its weekday afternoon games available for sports fans to watch on their computers, is a nightmare for employers, but what effect might it actually have on the economy? By one recent measure, the college basketball tournament could cost as much as $1.7 billion in lost productivity each year.

That sure sounds high, but wherever you stand on estimating such output, one new study has gauged how much money is lost each year by the one deed consumers love to hate:

Waiting for the cable guy, repair guy or delivery guy.

Yes, you’ve done it. You’ve taken off work. You’ve hoped that “between the hours of 12 and four” might be a little more specific than you thought. Which, of course, it is not.

*Bing: Check out Domino’s Pizza’s new GPS-fuelled order tracker

Indeed, it’s universal that waiting for the cable/repair/delivery guy stinks, but one consulting firm has done the math to see what it actually costs the economy.

According to TOA Technologies, Americans waste about the equivalent of two full working days waiting for a variety of in-home services or deliveries.

That works out to about $250 a year per person, which works out to a staggering $37.7 billion per year across the U.S.

This – certainly when compared with the above March Madness figure – seems like it’s much more likely to have some traction. During the NCAA tournament, workers are distracted but at least they’re at their desks.

Waiting at home on work day, though? Tough to find a larger, more complete example of lost productivity than that.



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...