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Everything used to be better. Who hasn't heard that been said. But when you look at it, not everything was better before. Nowadays, there's a suitable product for almost every problem. There's no doubt that technical progress has decisively improved our quality of life in all areas.
But - now we're spoilt for choice. Instead of just one or less solution options, we're literally overwhelmed by the number of variants. For example, how can I find the ideal one for me from the almost infinite number of jeans I can buy? A thing of impossibility.
In the past there was little, sometimes no choice at all.
There were just two pairs of jeans to choose from. And we probably didn't find any that were really that great, but we bought some anyway. Precisely, because we had no other choice. Making the decision easy.
Now that there's so much choice, it's obvious that the perfect jeans for me are going to be out there. I just need to find them. But when I've decided on one pair and then find out after the first trip that they don't fit as well as I thought they would, then I start to struggle with my choice. After all, I could have chosen a different pair of jeans that might have been better.
In other words: In the past, if the product chosen wasn't optimal, it wasn't my fault if I chose it anyway. After all, there was just no other options and I needed the product.
Things look very different today. The large number of choice suggests that there's most likely an optimal choice for us. We just made the wrong choice now - and are responsible for the "bad choice" ourselves.
In his TED Talk, Barry Schwartz impressively talks about how difficult it is to make the right decision, compared to the past - and what consequences this has on consumers' decision-making behavior. Because sometimes everything was better when everything was actually "worse":