Learning economics from the world's best boss
Even when something comes at a zero monetary cost it may cost considerable time to get something for "free". How much money would you spend for a pretzel? What is the value of the time that Michael and Stanley are spending standing in line? Is a pretzel really worth that much?
Jim pays for fireworks at Toby's farewell party so that he can propose to Pam. Doing so creates a positive externality for everyone at the party. Fireworks are a common example of a public good, because they are both non-rival and non-excludable. This makes it easy for individuals to free ride, utilizing the public good without contributing to its production. Jim learns this first hand when Andy makes the most of the romantic atmosphere.