A Little Happier: The Subway Kiosk Asks a Deep Question: Add Value or Add Time?

Every time I ride on the New York City subway, to pay my fare, I swipe a card through a turnstile. Every time I go to refill my card, I’m faced with a question that reminds me of a much more profound question, each time I face that screen.

The kiosk asks me: “What do you want to add? Add Value or Add Time?” (By value, the machine means money.)

Often, in life, if we’re fortunate, we’re faced with trade-offs. In many instances, we can save money, and spend time. Or we can spend money, and save time.

Knowing what’s a good use of money, and a good use of time, or a waste of money, or a waste of time, is often harder to figure out than we might think. But it’s a question well worth asking.

It’s funny to me that the subway kiosk reminds me to consider this question. I’ll take a prompt for self-reflection anywhere I can get it!

Here’s a photo of what that screen looks like, in a subway station.




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