Friday, October 28, 2005

Thinking and Acting on the Margin

I found a recent post on the blog site, The Big Picture (link to specific post no longer active)interesting. It made start to think about the difference between "thinking on the margin" and "acting on the margin." One of the "truisms" was that "seeing an opportunity and acting upon are two different things." This "truism" speaks to the fact that many people may think on the margin and recognize an opportunity to benefit, but not as many people act on the opportunity. I sometimes get to travel with this job, and I think one might construct a way to explain the difference based on airline customers.

Many travelers are experts at the "two bag" limit…or may seem to be. Most people seem intent on stuffing everything into two bags for stowing in "the overhead compartment and under the seat in front of you." Now we can argue what their true motivation is for adopting this behavior. If the motivation is to save time by not having to go to the baggage claim area, then we can proceed with the example. By packing this way to avoid going to baggage claim, one may surmise that they recognize an opportunity to gain a few minutes by skipping the baggage claim process.

But one could argue that those who "act on the margin" in addition to thinking on it, may choose to consider the size of the plane and where they’re sitting. If one were sitting in the back of a large plane (something more than 20 – 25 rows), it may actually be less aggravating and more efficient to check the bag. Given the fact that it seems to take interminably long for the people in the front of the plant to retrieve their bags and exit the plane, one might be able to find one's bag arrives at baggage claim by the time you finally deplane. You could get to the terminal, pick up your bag, and leave…now if only there wasn’t a "lost/damaged baggage" problem to complicate this example.

Your comments?

Posted by TSchilling at 7:34 PM

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