Sunk Costs and a Trip to CVS Pharmacy

Source: EconLog
by David Henderson

“Last week, my wife asked me to pick up some prescriptions from the CVS Pharmacy that’s on my way home from work. I forgot. When I got home, she reminded me. I turned around and drove to CVS, a drive that takes about 6 minutes. (You’ll see why this matters anon.) When I got there, I called my wife, Rena, to tell her that there were at least 9 people in line in front of me and so if she was hungry, she should go ahead and eat without me. She told me I should come home and try again when it was less busy. I said no because it would take no longer now than it would for a future trip. Here’s the key fact. There were two sunk costs here: my 6 minutes in getting to CVS and my 6 minutes to get home. How was the 6 minutes to get home sunk even though I hadn’t borne it yet? Because I didn’t plan to stay overnight at CVS.” (01/19/23)