advice that one should avoid these agreements.
The Best Buy repairman came by earlier today to finish the work on the refrigerator. Last month he fixed our front-loading washer, also under contract. (Regarding the latter, the latch had broken, and the washing machine wouldn’t operate with the door even slightly ajar. However, I installed an elastic strap to over-ride the safety feature until the repairman fixed it on his second visit. Fortunately, the laundry police weren't called.)
When deciding whether to buy service contracts, doing a decent analysis requires us to ascertain the elements going into the decision, including:
We’ve had to perform analyses like this at work. If the project was a big one, we would also need to analyze the cost of other alternatives, such as leasing-in the equipment or using a less-efficient configuration (for example, two smaller machines in place of a large one) in lieu of repair. Then, after gathering the data to fix the range of probabilities and costs for each scenario, we would run multiple iterations, sometimes cranking out hundreds of Monte Carlo simulations. After all the work was done, senior management would often decide on the opposite of the model recommendation (not that there’s anything wrong with that).
Perhaps I don’t do quantitative analysis more frequently in personal situations because I subconsciously (now consciously) know that all that work does not necessarily improve the result. Especially when considering other uses of my time, I can make a decision in a minute, pop a cold one and watch a ballgame.
It's possible that I am getting smarter as I get older.