Here is how it works....
You need an appliance or some sort of big ticket item (read: pricey)... for the sake of this example lets say you are looking to buy a refrigerator...
So, you go to the stores here (um.. or just THE store here since I believe only one sells fridges still) and the price for the one you want is $799....
next you go on line to various websites and see what their prices are....
Let's say Best Buy, Sears, Home Depot, and a few others.... and you find the same fridge for $200 less.... here is where "Vineyard Math" is used...
cost of on island fridge: $799
cost off off island fridge: $599
estimated savings: $200
now you take the $200 and subtract...
estimated savings of $200
minus shipping (lowball estimate): $75
savings now: $125
minus the wages you will lose while waiting for the item to be delivered about two weeks from order date (again, lowball estimate):$115
savings now: $10
.... and that is ONLY if you are lucky.
NOW... you try to figure out how much it would cost to go pick the item up yourself on the mainland....
start with your estimated savings of $200
minus round trip 1 day excursion boat tickets, this gets tricky... depending on time of year and size of car it will cost you roughly $60 in winter or $80 in summer (but that is ONLY if you are a member of the "Islander Excursion Program")... ok, back to the math:
savings of: $200
RT boat ticket: $75 (I just split the difference)
savings now: $125
gas for your car: $50 for a full tank (on average)
savings now: $75
lost wages for taking the day off of work: $115
savings now: -$40
food while off island (if it's just you): $8 (you know you're going to McDonalds, just admit it.)
savings now: -$48
get back to the island and hope you don't have to hire someone to carry your fridge into the house (good luck with that!) ... but if you do...
pay one of the moving/hauling companies to move your item: $80 (again, lowball estimate)
savings now: - $128 in the hole
.... do you see where I'm going with this?
and THAT is Vineyard Math in a nutshell.
Sure there are bargains to be found, and believe me, I REALLY look for them... on as well as off island. Though in the end ... it's almost always more cost effective to buy items on the island. PLUS... we do need to support the island businesses .... 'cause incase you haven't noticed... the economy is deep in the crapper!