Saving time and money just to waste it spectacularly

Graeme 'Yer Man' Cousins
Graeme 'Yer Man' Cousins

Everything we do in this day and age is about saving time and money. Not a day goes by when I’m not verbally jostled by someone off the telly trying to sell me something that won’t break the bank and will simultaneously make my life easier.

I blame that monumental advertising campaign when Vidal Sassoon urged us to take one bottle into the shower, not two.

I’ve no problem with saving time and money, so long as when it comes to spending either commodity it’s not wasted.

The vast majority of people try to save both time and money as they go about their daily lives. Templated phrases like, “I don’t have time for this” and “Do you think I’m made of money?” are evidence of this.

There are obvious ways to save money, some of them even legal. However, time isn’t as easy to manipulate. To the best of my knowledge, there hasn’t been an hour that’s weighed in with any more or less than 60 minutes.

In order to preserve precious seconds I’ve noticed some people have resorted to hacking the English language into smaller pieces. Two new time-saving words I’ve encountered in recent weeks are ‘prinking’ and ‘selfie’.

Prinking has replaced the term known as pre-drinking and saved a syllable in the process. What’s more it’s shaved three words off the out-dated and the long-winded expression of “having a carry out”.

Selfies refer to a picture you’ve taken of yourself, usually with a mobile phone.

It used to be that you’d need to give yourself a minimum of two days to have a photograph developed then gather your friends to show it to them saying, “Here’s a picture I took of myself while drinking a carry out.”

But that was pre-millennium. Or should that be prillennium?

Nowadays it takes less than 15 seconds to point, click and post a photo to Twitter with the message ‘Prink! #Selfie’.

This is progress.

When it comes to spending all this accrued time and money my experience is that it’s generally put to poor use.

Of course nobody wastes time deliberately, but without realising it our time is being devoured by the very technologies designed to save it.

I curse the number of hours I’ve wasted staring at error messages on my PC informing me of its failure to action my commands. My personal favourite is when a programme has encountered an unexpected error, as opposed to an expected one, and has been shut down.

The internet is another major time waster, both directly and indirectly. Because of the internet, man believes he has the ability to fix everything. When something breaks, instead of consulting the Yellow Pages and speaking to an expert the first reaction is to look up the internet to see if anyone has posted a similar problem and hitherto has been furnished with a solution.

Following instructions off the internet to carry out a task that should be done by a trained professional may seem like you’re saving time and money, but in the long run, by the time the thing that needed fixed is fixed, you’ll find you’ve frittered away copious amounts of both.

In conclusion, it’s very easy to waste time without even realising it. Perhaps some of you are feeling that way right now.