Lessons from a Swimming Pool, Part II: Sometimes, ROI Just Doesn't Matter

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As I mentioned in an earlier post, I spent a lovely few hours at the swimming pool with my family during their summer opening day event. There were lots of great inflatables with water for the kids: dragons on the water, slides into the water, etc.

Since it was the first real time off for the kids, and it was a well-publicized summer opening event, the place was packed. There were easily 2-3x as many people as there normally are, leading to lines for each inflatable (total of about 8) of several minutes at least.

As I watched my kid waiting online, I realized that each of these kids was willing to wait 5 or even 10 minutes for what amounted to anywhere from 2 to 30 seconds of fun. My optometrist friend standing next to me commented, "there is no way I would wait that long for so little benefit!" How many of use would wait online 8 hours to see a 2 hour movie? How many would wait 12 hours to see a 2 hour play or concert? Very very few adults will, yet there are exceptions. I distinctly recall adults and kids camping outside theatres the night before the opening of "Return of the Jedi".

Clearly, from the optometrist's (and my) perspective, the Return on Investment is so negative as to be laughable: 5 minutes = 300 seconds online for 3 seconds of fun = -297%! Yet there are times when ROI just doesn't matter. People will pay absurd prices, even in time, for something they desire or consider desirable or fun. The ability to create that desirability is the magic of the best product marketers.

Sometimes the ROI just doesn't matter.