Monday, February 04, 2013

Choice Overload

I am going to try to remember the cookie aisle from my childhood. I remember that Oreos were just a cookie. A singular cookie you could define as chocolate with cream filling. Period. Chips Ahoy were cchocolatechip...they were crunchy and tasted faintly of cardboard. They came in one size of cookie and one flavor, color and texture. Maybe there were two box sizes depending on your penchant for cookies or size of your family. There were not the staggering number of choices a stroll down the cookie aisle affords today.
I am amazed, and even might say appalled, by the variety. There are currently birthday cake, chocolate on chocolate, chocolate mint, chocolate peanut butter, vanilla, half vanilla/half chocolate, doublestuff, strawberry, Neapolitan ice cream berry blast...there are FORTY FIVE varieties!!! How incredibly overwhelming. The Oreo brand has merely become a vehicle for different flavors and colors: an experimental platform for heaping on the artificial ingredients. It's downright frightening. Chips Ahoy and the other brands offers no respite. And do NOT get me started on toothpastes...or shampoos...
The paradox of choice states that the more choices you have, the more stress you feel. Consider this:

The Paradox of Choice - Why More Is Less is a 2004 book by American psychologist Barry Schwartz. In the book, Schwartz argues that eliminating consumer choices can greatly reduce anxiety for shoppers.
Autonomy and Freedom of choice are critical to our well being, and choice is critical to freedom and autonomy. Nonetheless, though modern Americans have more choice than any group of people ever has before, and thus, presumably, more freedom and autonomy, we don't seem to be benefiting from it psychologically.
—quoted from Ch.5, The Paradox of Choice, 2004
Now, I know I have shown this video on here before, but it bears repeating. What do you think of choice? Is it a help or a hinderance to your shopping experience?

As of late, I have been (as I mentioned in a previous blog) frequenting some dating sites. The more cute guys I meet, the more nice potentials I meet, the more I just want none. I think I will just close up shop. Maybe when springtime hits I will feel more in the game.  The stress of a misstep in dating seems even more perilous than choosing the wrong Oreo or toothpaste.

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