Last week we dodged a bullet here in Maine (a snowstorm really) but it felt like a bullet—a financial bullet. This year I’m aware, really aware of what a financial hit a snowstorm can be. I grew up in the Midwest thinking of snow days as blissful days of free play time—an oasis in the middle of tedious school days. I remember going to bed praying for a big storm and anxiously waiting to watch my school’s name scroll across the bottom of the TV screen. (OK, I know I’m older that that—this is probably my kids’ memory!)
In any event, the feeling was the same, no responsibilities, no deadlines, no structure. And, that’s how my first snow day this year felt. The second still felt pretty good—but when that third day filled with cancelled appointments, it became only about lost dollars, especially since they coincided with the biggest sales days in my husband’s campus bookstores. The dollar signs got even bigger. So when we dodged the big storm last week, I breathed a sigh of relief.
It made me wonder if anyone had ever calculated the dollars lost due to a blizzard. With a quick search on the internet, I discovered that in 1996, figures quoted by the Salt Institute put the financial loss of a day of work to roadway conditions at between $4.8 billion and $5.6 billion. And that was 15 years ago! Hardly seems possible, but when I look at the financial havoc created in my little corner of the financial world, I can believe it.
So, next time the forecast is for snow—as it is again this week—I’ll find it hard to see those beautiful snowflakes as free time and bliss. But, with some proper planning and today’s electronic connections, I can still get some real work done. It’s all about the planning.
What are you going to do?