Monday, February 07, 2011

How Much Is This Meeting?

Back when I was a working girl in a real office with people, as opposed to what I am now -- a part-time-working-girl-in-a-windowless-basement office all by myself -- I used to play some fun games. They were games I played with myself mostly, for others would think my games a waste of brain cells.

One of my favorite games was, "How Much Is This Meeting?"  This is the game whereby someone would schedule a meeting.  Then we'd all convene in a fancy fishbowl conference room only to yield to many minutes of mindless chitchat.  Usually -- emphasis on usually for there were times that it wasn't a usually -- the idle repartee was a topic of little interest to me.  These topics inlcude, but are not limited to: golf, weight loss, video gaming, football, alimony, free spiffs, church ball, kid extracurriculars (I had no kids then), computer hardware, and cheap food.  These conversations tend to make my mind sing a whoo-hoo, then wander.

With all of the chatter, there was always some time for me to kill.  So I'd kill this time by figuring the exact dollar amount the company was forking over for this important meeting in the fancy fishbowl.  First, I'd guesstimate the hourly rate of each employee then tack on a percentage for benefits.  Then I'd price the furniture, divide it by something like 300 (weeks used in a lifetime), then multiply by 40 hours (per week), to figure the hourly rate of the furniture.  After the employees and chairs were figured, I'd add on the hourly rate for electricity -- which, mind you, is more if you've got some state-of-the-art projection happening, but then you have to subtract the florescent overheads, 'cause they were usually turned off.  There some fringe expenses as well, like cell phones, pens, papers, coffee, cups, and custodial services.

All of those figures would add up to one specific number.  And that number was, "How Much is This Meeting?"  Great fun, right?  Right!  It was a great way to pass time and/or brush up on some mental math.  Once in a while, like when the entire division of 300 would meet, I'd have to whip out the paper and color coded writing devices to keep track of the figures.

I tried to keep this little game my secret, but there were a few close calls.  Like when someone would look over my shoulder at the doodles, then wonder what on earth I was up to.  Those times were intense!  I'd immediately scramble all of those zeros into flowers and hearts so as to convince that my notes were nothing more than a bored, working-girl's etch-a-sketch. 

So there you go.  That was: "How Much Is This Meeting?"

Question is, why am I telling you this now?  It's simple really.  Last night was the Super Bowl.  And that unnatural disaster that occurred in the middle of the two halfs led me to play a similar game.  'Cept this time it was called: "How Much Is This Half-Time Show?"



Makell said...

The Black Eyed Peas are horrible live! My husband and I haven't been able to take them seriously since we saw their (far worse, if you can believe it) performance at the Soccer World Cup last year. Hilarious!! I like your game idea- I'm gonna keep that one in my arsenal for future use..

Ski Bike Junkie said...

Funny, because I have also been known to play "how much is this meeting." Only I wasn't so covert or real-time about it. More like my financial analyst and I would sit down and figure out how much the company had just wasted whenever a head-scratchingly boring meeting had just concluded. Of course, we would also factor in the cost of our time spent coming up with the figure.

Regarding the Black Eyed Peas last night, they've got to be left wondering what the opportunity cost of performing at halftime was. Whatever they were paid for the appearance (realistically probably very little, if anything, since they and their label undoubtedly viewed it as a promotional opportunity) was certainly offset by the value lost in demonstrating to such a massive audience just how abysmal they are performing live. And since bands these days get most of their revenue from live shows (recording more or less breaks even due to piracy), you've got to think there is a huge portion of otherwise would-be ticket buyers no longer interested.

Grizzly Adam said...

Are you asking how much that halftime show cost in dollars, or how much it cost ME in emotional and social damage?

Winder said...

This here post is one of the reasons why I love you!

Moe said...

OK, how much did "My reading this blog entry" cost?

Blackdog said...

I still thought Fergie and Slash were cool but I am weird like that. I am trying to remember the last good half time program. Stones maybe.

tom lindsey said...

You forgot to account for lost productivity-- presumably there would have been actual work accomplished had they not been meeting.

rabidrunner said...

Makell - Knew you'd dig this, what with your economics degree and such.

Junkie - Interesting points. Downright chin scratching, in fact. For some reason, doing the super bowl gig would have to come from extreme desperation, because they all crash 'n burn. Don't they know this going in? All of my half-time super bowl experiences have crashed and burned. Stadium concerts suck anyways. Precisely why I won't pay hundreds to see U2.

P.S. What's with the bloody picture? Trying to make us all say ewe?

Winder - Kiss, kiss, bang, bang.

Moe - You're an expensive one. That blog entry prolly cost, like, $100.

Blackdog - Not a fan of Fergie doin' G 'n R. Nosiree. But we can still be friends

Tom - Lost productivity cannot be accounted for or quantified. The rapid influx of outsourcing is proof of said unaccountable and unquantifiable productivity, isn't it? (Careful Rabid, careful. Said careful, Rabid, careful 'cause I was about to go on an outsource tangent that wouldn't necessarily be accepted in most places.)

rabidrunner said...

Ope, missed Grizzly. Agreed, Mr. Adam. I was ever so embarrassed and emotionally scarred. Much like open mic on Sunday.