Losing sleep over too many choices

May 4th, 2010 by | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

Living with an abundant amount of choices is great because we have options to pick which suits us the best; however, making the decision on which product we should buy can overwhelm us.  For instance, a writer in the latest article, Relationship Advice: Do You Have Commitment-Phobia?, spoke about her frustrations in choosing bread at a grocery store:

“Going to the grocery store the other day and spending 10 minutes debating whether or not I should buy whole wheat, whole grain, 10 grain or 12 grain bread reminded me of a scene in the 1980s hit movie “Moscow on the Hudson” in which Robin Williams’ character, a refugee from Soviet Russia, faints in the grocery store aisle trying to decide which coffee to buy among the glut of choices. I recalled the scene last Tuesday when I realized I had almost missed an appointment because of my thorough bread analysis (I even considered spelt bread. Spelt!)”

I can totally relate to the writer.  As someone who is living in the US, I can attest that stores offer a wide variety of choices and perhaps too many that could cause us to lose sleep, as we spend so much time thinking about the choices.  For instance, Nordstrom’s shoe department overwhelms me.  I could take all the shoes home with me.  That would be a problem because I would have no room in my home, not enough time to wear all of them and not to mention, I wouldn’t be able to afford to purchase all!  Thus, being able to decide on one pair is difficult not only because there are so many different styles, but many shoes offer more than one color choice and/or  pattern choice in the same style!  I can drive those poor salespeople up the wall because they have to spend quite a bit bit of time trying on shoes for me and even retrying on pairs that I’ve already tried on half an hour ago in order to make the right decision.

Perhaps I should go to a smaller shoe store, where there are fewer selections so that I wouldn’t be wasting my time in making a decision on so many choices of shoes and use that time I would have spent in doing other productive things such as riding a bike in the mountains with a cool breeze flowing over my face!

I should note that it is very interesting to see the cultural difference in how other countries such as Russia during the ’80s and before offered fewer product choices and how much easier life was for the Russians.  However, there are disadvantages to having fewer choices.  For instance, suppose if I have a red dress, and I want a pair of red shoes to match the dress?  At least, when I go into Nordstrom’s shoe department, I can eliminate ALL the shoes except for the red shoes.  I would certainly have an easier time making a decision because I limited my choice.  If I had gone to a smaller shoe store, what if the shoe store had only one pair of shoes in red and the style was not right for me?

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May 5, 2010 at 12:37 pm

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Rachel Chaikof. Rachel Chaikof said: NEW BLOG: Losing sleep over too many choices http://blog.rachelchaikof.com/?p=604 material culture #anthropology #huffpost #culture […]

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