Strange rationalization

I’ve been researching espresso machines a bit some months ago with the intent of buying one. (I’ve eventually decided against it.) I found that good machines are expensive. I also found a fairly peculiar bit of rationalization in discussion forums.

Let me be clear: I don’t find it inherently problematic that people spend big bucks on espresso machines. I probably spend more money on my computers than most people do. I’ve seen people happy with cheap laptops but these machines usually do not have enough power for my needs. So I understand that people would want to pay significant money for something they are going to use and enjoy.

This, however, is just weird:

“After I get my espresso machine, I won’t have to go to Starbucks anymore and will thus recover the cost of the machine. Overall, I’m going to save money. See, two coffees in the morning plus two in the afternoon, that’s X dollars per day so after Y days, I’ll be in the clear. And there’s also the gas saved!”

The above is a paraphrase of a rationalization I’ve seen several times on websites dedicated to discussing coffee and espresso machines. Now, I find the scenario presented in that rationalization rather unlikely. I don’t know anyone who goes to Starbucks to get four coffees per day. We can assume that there are people who drive to Starbucks on their way to work and then leave work in the afternoon to get more coffee. If a couple living together does that, then that’s four coffees per day. It is still peculiar that they would do that seven days a week. Moreover, if the home espresso machine takes care of the afternoon needs, on a work day it means that the couple would have to drive home in the afternoon to make their coffee. Home would have to be at a fairly close distance from work and would have to have enough time to drive back and forth and make the espresso. In addition, the scenario does not take into account times when one just does not feel like messing with the darn espresso machine but would rather just go to Starbucks. Now, I know some people work at home, or they have their coffee in the evening (good luck sleeping!), or whatever so their situation can validate the rationalization. I find the scenario very unlikely but, okay, it is possible.

It is puzzling though that one would have to pretend that buying an espresso machine for home is some sort of wise financial move. If money is really an issue, here’s a simpler solution: stop buying four coffees per day from Starbucks. Just stop buying from them. It is a net gain. It is this simple. Let me reiterate that if someone wants to buy an espresso machine because they are going to enjoy making espressos at home, by all means do it but a financial rationalization for it sounds hollow.

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