Dear public school system: charge me more, please

After reading the following, can you guess what I was doing last night instead of enjoying the Olympics? Also, does this suggest a clerical arbitrage opportunity? I think the transaction costs may kill it. That no such service exists in the market (or does it?) is also informative.

Dear public school system:

You seem to want my children’s names, birth dates, entering grades and school, allergies, medications, emergency contacts, and other information multiple times on multiple forms. Would you please compute how much it would cost you if I only provided it once and you duplicated it as necessary. My guess is that cost would be no greater than $25 (clerical staff wage + benefits for under one hour). Now double it ($50, at most). Then offer me the choice of that duplication service for that inflated amount or the experience of doing all the paperwork myself. If I pay for the service (and at $50 I would), you’d make a healthy profit, which you could apply to buying the junk food and non-educational videos you too frequently offer my children. (Sorry, that’s another issue I couldn’t help sneaking in.)

All the best,

Austin, father of two


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