I found myself paying for my trip to Denver in more ways than one this week. Taking the train out there seemed like a good idea, but when you roll back into town at 4am, get a couple hours of sleep and have to face an already overloaded week, Sunday could not come fast enough.

The common layman would not be aware of this, but an obscure amendment to Murphy’s Law states that upon return from said vacation, some form(s) of equipment is(are) required to break down, and thus seeming to serve as a type of punishment for your absence. I was in full compliance with this law Wednesday night when my dishwasher emerged from the dish pit holding the sprayer arm to the sanitizer in one hand, while displaying a cross-eyed look on his face. This was followed by my lead server telling me the POS system just went down. My tank was already on E, so I had no energy to do anything other than laugh internally, and wave the emotional white flag on the inside.

In business, you often are forced to make decisions based on what seems best under the current circumstances and hope you’ve made the right choice. I bought most of my kitchen equipment used, much of it sourced on eBay, because the market contains so much liquidated from failed attempts. Why pay for a brand new refrigerator, when I can get a year old model for one fourth of the price. But that damn dishwashing unit I purchased was brand new, under the thinking that with no unknown story of previous use, it might be more reliable. Nay. I’ve spent more money keeping that stupid thing running over the years than any other piece. I now know why the repairman shows up wearing a new watch.

I think we all would like some kind of guarantee that we we’ve done the right thing and will not face regret only days after the original transaction was made. Consumer Reports plays to this phobia, along with BizRate, CNET, and a whole slew of other comparative sites. We want to know the best option out there in hopes that we can rest assured that my coffeemaker is the top of the line, or that my BlueRay player is out in front of all the others, or that the thousand dollars spent on that laptop computer won’t soon turn into seventeen hundred dollars because the monitor went out and needed to be replaced and I foolishly didn’t get the extended warranty.

Fear lurks around every tree, waiting to pounce on the best laid plans.

Watch for it at BestBuy, when you buy your kid that Wii he’s been asking about. The dude in the blue shirt will upsell you the insurance policy with some fancy name like a “peace of mind” guarantee or “consumer protection package.” And you nervously contemplate, “should I do it or should I not?” The Suits and Moustaches in the corporate office know how your mind works, and they stand to make a few bucks off your insecurity.

My point is not to bash these options, but merely to remind myself that sometimes they work, and sometimes they don’t. I have one on my wife’s car, and it’s already paid for itself. I found paperwork in a file from ten years ago, showing that I bought “stain guard protection” for my couch and chair that now have a slip cover on it. I’m not even sure how that one was supposed to work? It’s not like splitting 8’s. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t

I remember a piece of advice given to me as a college kid; don’t worry about making the right decision. Instead, make your decision and make it right. Spend time doing the research, but once you’ve decided, tell yourself you made the right call and move on.

It will make your return from vacation a bit more tolerable

I’d like to split those, please…