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Old 06-20-2014, 10:16 PM   #21
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I don't agonize over choices except in one particular situation . . . sandwich deli's. All my life I've dreaded calling out all the choices to assemble a sandwich to the counter person.
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Old 06-21-2014, 06:26 AM   #22
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I like all the choice we have here, even though some of it is artificial. Supermarkets are the best. When we lived overseas and came to the US on family vacation we would always go to the supermarket and walk up and down the aisles to see all the things we could buy. It was such a contrast.

Even now, we still visit at least 3 different grocers twice a month.
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Old 06-21-2014, 06:39 AM   #23
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I don't agonize over choices except in one particular situation . . . sandwich deli's. All my life I've dreaded calling out all the choices to assemble a sandwich to the counter person.
Mine's easy....."All little of everything, but LOTS of hot peppers".
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Old 06-21-2014, 08:20 AM   #24
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Alternate viewpoint is "Life is good, be careful not to screw it up".

Is there anyone here who is troubled by any of this? I have spent my life in America, where there is plenty of everything, and in recent years an abundance of choices. As far as I can see, neither I nor my parents nor my sibs nor my friends and acquaintances has every been anything but happy about this. Try a truly third world experience some time, especially if your job or roles puts you into contact with locals who are not trying to please you. Most of them would welcome some of this stressful choice you talk about.

Ha
I could not disagree with that, Ha... I was looking at the subject from a different angle. Not as a comparison, but as an old timer, looking back at a simpler time.

My avatar is a symbol of my arrogant ambition. To be a second last polymath. A goal that I see being ever more impossible for anyone.

As a child, many hours were spent in my back yard, lying on the grass and seeing figures in the clouds. Many more hours were spent in the public library... going through the stacks, aimlessly, and picking out books that were far beyond my knowledge... to browse and look for interesting things.

At age 10 my folks invested in the encyclopedia Americana... all 26 volumes in small print. It was the world, at my fingertips. My choice to read or not, to explore, at my own pace, whatever peaked my interest at that time.

What I see now, is the boy of 10, in between after-school soccer, play dates
and school courses pointed to the 6 year goal of passing the SAT's... and with the entire knowledge of all mankind... from all ages... at his fingertips on his smartphone...
Overwhelmed by choices and playing Sniper Team 2 or Stickman Badminton.

I see a populace, fighting for the American Dream, but unaware of politics... not only National, but International, and except for the local referendum on the proposed new school gymnasium, not even aware of where their taxes go.

I see news sources limited to the bias of NBC or Fox and newspapers mired in hot topic editorials. No time to explore in depth, and as background, the previous headline story which was also designed to shock and amaze.

I see a society where people are expected to have opinions... expected to "know"...
............................................
And at the same time,
-beset by a government frozen in anger and mistrust
-faced with a world where poverty and fear is the result of religious choices
-dealing with laws and regulations which are evermore being twisted from constitutional guarantees, to the needs of: the corporate community, interlocking directorates, and the policy-planning network.

and... by the same logic, countered by a philosophy that the "State" exists to serve, protect, and nurture the people... and that equality trumps the personal freedom (of choice).
.............................................

Back to the subject of "Tyranny of Choice".
I don't believe the article was written as a SOLUTION, but as an attempt to explain that the advances of the past 50 or 60 years are not without a downside. The simple codeword is "information overload"...

I feel very privileged to have had the years to see the difference.
Quote:
When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
I summon up remembrance of things past,
I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought
Onward and upward...
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Old 06-21-2014, 09:34 AM   #25
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We do have enough. The next step is to have more choices. This does not necessarily increase happiness. With more choices available it takes time to find and evaluate options. More time is spent reading reviews, returning merchandise, and so on.

There is an ongoing evolution of retail that supports a return to simplified choices. How much time does one want to spend in these gigantic marketplaces? Food market chains have been expanding to serve this need to get in and get out as quickly as possible with the necessary food staples.

Contrast wandering through scores of aisles at Walmart with a jaunt through Aldi. You may substitute your own choice of stores for a better comparison.
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Old 06-21-2014, 09:43 AM   #26
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I like all the choice we have here, even though some of it is artificial. Supermarkets are the best. When we lived overseas and came to the US on family vacation we would always go to the supermarket and walk up and down the aisles to see all the things we could buy. It was such a contrast.

Even now, we still visit at least 3 different grocers twice a month.
I overheard a young woman laughing in a supermarket about being able to buy "feminine protection" in colors to match her outfit. Now that is a lot of choice!
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Old 06-21-2014, 09:55 AM   #27
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Not a problem for me.

Though I read that one of Trader Joe's ideas is to provide 'enough' choice. I forget the numbers, but a typical large supermarket has something like 20x the choices in Peanut Butter as TJ's, and TJ's has a pretty wide selection.

So you can get through the store much quicker, and usually get what you need. If not, there's Costco or the big grocery stores.

Choice is good.

-ERD50
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Old 06-21-2014, 10:08 AM   #28
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We do have enough. The next step is to have more choices. This does not necessarily increase happiness. With more choices available it takes time to find and evaluate options. More time is spent reading reviews, returning merchandise, and so on.
I don't really get this. Does the existence of a choice require it to be evaluated? There are very few things I bother to try to optimize. I spent sometime before deciding on what surgeon and what operation approach I wanted for hip surgery. Was this stressful? No, I felt I would be much better off for this, and I am glad I lived somewhere that these choices were available to me.

If I go to buy a piece of fish, I start withy what I want, and have the guy lift a few fillets, or fish. If it doesn't look good, I'll glance at the other stuff and maybe go buy hamburger.

If I want a car I'll read a few things, talk to my sons, and then have Costco find the lowest offer. Then go negotiate my final deal and give them a check.

Would I prefer a Lada? I don't think so. And so on. Most things I just buy what hasn't failed me in the past.

Ha
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Old 06-21-2014, 10:21 AM   #29
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I cannot choose. It has 3,843 alternatives and this one has 24833 5-stars and 5847 1-stars. Those top one stars are scaring the bejebbers outta me. It's my $2.99; I want the right one.
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Old 06-21-2014, 12:08 PM   #30
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I cannot choose. It has 3,843 alternatives and this one has 24833 5-stars and 5847 1-stars. Those top one stars are scaring the bejebbers outta me. It's my $2.99; I want the right one.
You forgot to mention what percentage of the 5 stars are shills...
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Old 06-21-2014, 01:37 PM   #31
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It's nuts. Choice evolves in real time. So I go to Amazon to see what they want for a big bag of doggie treats. They say $20. I've got Amazon Prime so what is that free shipping no-hassle worth. So I go to WalMart site and the local store DOES have the same bag of treats for $15. So, fine, next time I am at WalMart. So Amazon, the psychics that they are, knows I have decided on WalMart so they compute the value of my gas and time and send me an limited time offer to sell me the treats for $16 but only if I buy NOW. And thus you have computer generated changes in choice parameters in near real time.
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Old 06-21-2014, 02:08 PM   #32
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I completely agree with your friend. The only thing worse is listening to some people order their own variations and quiz the wait staff and ask for even more individualization of their orders.



Maybe the marketers are just trying to anticipate the equivalent of the "Hold the onions, cook the bacon extra crispy, make the cheese lowfat, and put the salsa on the side."

I am kinda picky on what is on my food, but I learned 30 years ago just to get a bunch of napkins and wipe off what I don't want. This way I am not disappointed with them screwing up my order.


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Old 06-21-2014, 02:15 PM   #33
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I don't really get this. Does the existence of a choice require it to be evaluated? There are very few things I bother to try to optimize...
Ha
That's the point Barry Schwartz makes in his book. Many people spend too much time agonizing over choices that do not really matter. And then, even when they have bought something, they still wonder if it is the optimal choice and second-guess themselves.
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Old 06-21-2014, 10:23 PM   #34
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As long have smart phones have been out, I am still trying to make up my mind which one (and carrier) to buy.
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Old 06-21-2014, 10:31 PM   #35
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As long have smart phones have been out, I am still trying to make up my mind which one (and carrier) to buy.

I have waited so long doing the same thing you have, that I have come full circle and chose to stay with the dumb phone. I have 3 friends say all they ever do with theirs is check sports scores and will drop to a dumb phone when they retire.


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Old 06-22-2014, 03:51 AM   #36
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It's nuts. Choice evolves in real time. So I go to Amazon to see what they want for a big bag of doggie treats. They say $20. I've got Amazon Prime so what is that free shipping no-hassle worth. So I go to WalMart site and the local store DOES have the same bag of treats for $15. So, fine, next time I am at WalMart. So Amazon, the psychics that they are, knows I have decided on WalMart so they compute the value of my gas and time and send me an limited time offer to sell me the treats for $16 but only if I buy NOW. And thus you have computer generated changes in choice parameters in near real time.
LOL!
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Old 06-22-2014, 04:30 AM   #37
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That's why I love Aldi: only basics, one of a kind, high quality (mostly).
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Old 06-22-2014, 10:25 AM   #38
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I don't really get this. Does the existence of a choice require it to be evaluated? There are very few things I bother to try to optimize. I spent sometime before deciding on what surgeon and what operation approach I wanted for hip surgery. Was this stressful? No, I felt I would be much better off for this, and I am glad I lived somewhere that these choices were available to me.
....
Thanks Ha. That word "optimize" says it all for me. Many of us have trouble with the choices because we think we need to optimize. I get pretty bad at this myself.

What's the best food for tonight when shopping in the market is a lot less important then choosing your surgical operation options. Sometimes I just need to relax and go with what's easy -- like let's do salmon tonight.

I think choice can be stressful when we feel there are unknown potholes in our potential paths. Like maybe picking a smartphone which I set as my recent task. Then there is relief when it's all over and you settle into your selection. So he says to DW: "Gee, this stuff really works and look at what it can do honey!"
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Old 06-22-2014, 11:05 AM   #39
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I am kinda picky on what is on my food, but I learned 30 years ago just to get a bunch of napkins and wipe off what I don't want. This way I am not disappointed with them screwing up my order.
You sound like the ultimate DIY guy! Well done!
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Old 06-22-2014, 11:13 AM   #40
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We are in the market for a new king-sized mattress and are using the web to get expert because there is a 70% off sale at a local store that ends on Sunday! It is truly amazing what DW can find on her iPad while sitting in the LR.

If not for the web, we would be comatose from over choice. As it is, we can work through the choices in about an hour. The key thing is to not visit the store and get confused by the sales staff. They have a good return policy too.
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