Back in the days everything was better. Who hasn’t heard that sentence being said? But if you look at things more closely, then back in the days things weren’t better at all. These days there’s a suitable product for nearly every problem and indisputably, technological progress has decidingly improved our quality of life in all areas.
But now we have so much choice it’s painful. Instead of having one, or even just a few options, we are positively struck down by the sheer number of variations. How can I, for example, from the indefinite number of jeans available to buy find the pair which is most suited to me? It’s just impossible.
Simplify – sometimes less is just more.
In yesteryear there was less, sometimes no choice at all. Maybe there were just two pairs of jeans to choose from. And maybe neither of these really suited what I really wanted but I still bought a pair. Quite simply because I didn’t really have a choice, the decision was then easy.
Now that there’s so much choice it’s obvious that the perfect pair of jeans is out there for me, it’s just a matter of finding them. But when I’ve decided on a pair and then realise after wearing them for the first time that they don’t really fit as well as what I originally thought, then I’m disappointed with my choice. Simply because I could have chosen a different pair of jeans, which might have been better. In other words, in yesteryear if the product that I’d selected wasn’t great then it wasn’t my fault. After all, there simply wasn’t any other option and I needed the product. The picture these days is completely different. The multitude of variations suggests that there would most probably have been an ideal. I just decided on the wrong one, and as a result it’s myself who is responsible for the “bad choice”.
In his TED Talk Barry Schwartz impressively talks about how difficult it is in comparison to earlier times to make the right decision. And what kind of consequences this has on consumers’ decision behaviour. Sometimes things were just better, where things were really “worse”: