To Review or Not to Review: Externalities in the Making
If you find yourself visiting San Antonio with a child in need of an emergency room, you’ll also find yourself in need of advice on which hospital to choose.
If you read FiveThirtyEight, once you’re on the other side of the emergency room visit and on your way home, you might start thinking about Mona Chalabi’s article “Does It Make Sense To Split The Check At A Restaurant?” Within the article, Chalabi addresses the economist-coined concept externalities:
Any time you make a decision that affects someone else without considering how it might affect that person, whether positively or negatively, you create an externality — it’s basically a fancy way of saying “indirect effect.” There are positive externalities (e.g. when you decide to get a flu shot, other people benefit) and negative externalities (e.g. when you decide to fart, other people suffer).
The connection between externalities and the emergency room?
Sitting on the hotel bathtub, holding back my daughter’s hair with one hand as she was sick for the eighth time that morning, I looked up hospitals via the phone in the other hand. Desperate for good reviews. Bad reviews ruled instead. The tie-breaker? A U.S. News & World Report hospital ranking and my past experiences with university teaching hospitals.
In the immortal words of Taylor Swift, “the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate” – while the lovers and likers are often silent, silent, silent, silent, silent.
I’m among the silent, silent, silent crowd. I send praise from time to time, but in general all’s quiet on the review front. The San Antonio experience forced my hand. By not reviewing what I’ve liked in the past, I’ve created negative externalities, allowing the bad reviews to dictate instead of making a decision to post reviews that help others.
In an effort to turn the negative into positive externalities, here are a few things for which I have endless praise:
Things I Use All The Time
Dropbox: Having access to all your files via multiple devices is a beautiful thing. I use it for work documents, but have pictures and other documents that I need for emergencies or just plain day-to-day work saved within it for easy access.
ScannerPro: I have a flatbed, but rely on this app for scanning more often. I started using it as an on-the-go option, when the flatbed wasn’t at my side, but have found myself using it as my “go to.” I like the ability to save files on my phone as PDFs and upload them to Dropbox (and other destinations). As its site says, Scanner Pro IS “Fast and Easy.”
Adobe Creative Cloud: Instead of buying all of the Adobe products, I have a subscription to the Creative Cloud program, which provides access to the entire suite. The beauty of subscribing is that every time a program is updated, the updates are included within the subscription. There isn’t a need to buy or update the program.
Skillshare: For very little a month, I’ve maintained a Skillshare subscription. The subscription allows access to all of the courses.
Highrise: I enter everyone I meet into Highrise, whether it is to record their contact information or to make notes about past conversations. Having access to all this information via the Internet, which means I can access it all the time, no matter where I’m at, is huge. I’d LOVE if its developers added an app, though. It’s a little bulky for using on mobile phones.
I don’t have time to read for pleasure as much as I’d like, so I listen to a ton of audio books, via an Audible subscription. Recent listens I’ve enjoyed:
- The Mists of Avalon
- All The Light We Cannot See
- Ghost Fleet
- Game of Thrones (All of the books in the series)
Bellissimo Restaurant: This is a family favorite in Fairfax, Va. It’s a small restaurant. Food takes longer than other restaurants to be served, but I’ve always chalked it up to the fact that it is cooked as ordered, that there aren’t a ton of items sitting around waiting to be plated in advance. There’s a small kitchen staff and the waiters have been there for a long time. One of the senior waiters is always on-hand to say something sweet to my daughter and we’ve heard him make the same joke after singing Happy Birthday to customers for years. We continue to laugh every time. They ditched my favorite dish – Chicken L’Orange – recently. Seems I was among the few ordering it.
Around the House
Whether its fixing damage to the house or to the car, I’ve been a long-time fan of USAA. A special shout-out needs to go to Yolanda Rodriguez, who guided me through recent water damage, answering questions and offering advice about items I should have asked about, but didn’t know enough to know the questions in advance.
San Antonio Hospitals
University Hospital: Instead of sitting in the ER lobby to check in, we were put in a room right away, and a computer was wheeled into our room to do the check-in there. *Finding a place of comfort, rather than sitting in an uncomfortable lobby with a sick child went a long way… The nurse assigned to us was amazing. It takes a special person to comfort sick children in strange places. She had IT. A specialist came in with students to do an ultrasound of her appendix (all was fine), and a few different doctors and residents came in throughout the day. The doctors didn’t all have “IT” as the nurse did, but we left feeling we’d been in good hands.
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