Among my many dysfunction disorders is a slight Peter Pan complex. I just don’t want to grow up! However, reality is quite different – I’m starting to get “senior moments” in which I start to forget things. Normally, I can pack a bag in less than 10 minutes and be on my way to the airport.

On my last trip, I packed my laptop, but forgot the power supply. Now, in my defense, I have not been taking my laptop, and using my tablet instead. Nonetheless, I arrived on the West Coast with a laptop that had minimal battery, and no way of recharging it (thank you HP, for making a proprietary plug!)

So, what to do?

I called my better half, and she confirmed that I had indeed left my power supply at home. So, I checked how much it was to overnight the power supply and get it to me before 8am the next day. The cost, nearly $100! I checked Amazon, but there was no one selling my power supply that could get it to me overnight.

My solution?

I went to an office supply store. I bought the cheapest laptop they had –  $165 + tax. To my surprise, the performance of the laptop is not that different than my 3 year old laptop. I was up and running within an hour!

That got me thinking … are low end laptops becoming a throw away item? Do we simply use it for a year, and throw it away (or more responsibly, should we donated to a charity?) and simply get a new one? The new laptop is about twice the weight of an iPad, running Windows 8.1. It costs about one quarter of a tricked out iPad. Essentially that means that one could go through four generations of low-end laptops (each having a slightly more powerful CPU) and still be ahead on price against the iPad (not that I have any against the iPad, but I can run full Microsoft Office on the Windows 8.1 laptop).

In the end, there is a discernible difference in performance between the two laptops, but not enough that I couldn’t do my work straightaway and be productive.

What this experience taught me is that in today’s world, good enough is just that … good enough. Sure, if I hadn’t forgotten my power cord, I wouldn’t have had to shell out the money. But given the fact that I could get to work that night, the net result is that the expense of the new laptop was irrelevant compared to the productivity that I gained by not waiting for the power cord to come the next day.