Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
The Tyranny of Choice
Old 06-20-2014, 07:45 AM   #1
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
imoldernu's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Peru
Posts: 4,616
The Tyranny of Choice

This is a long read that may be interesting to some.
As I read the article, I found myself mentally comparing today to earlier times in my life, and realizing that not all change is positive. It makes me realize how much more difficult it must be for younger people to make decisions.

How Americans Are Tyrannized By Too Much Choice | Alternet

This partial quote makes the point.
Quote:
...the problem stretches from the supermarket, with its average of 42,686 different items from which to prepare tonight’s dinner and care for the home...
While the piece becomes quite technical, the main theme makes sense to me, and I feel a little better about dealing with the challenges of the future. Understanding that choices may be artificial could, and I hope can, lead to a reduction in stress.

Life is good, but it can always be better.
__________________

__________________
imoldernu is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 06-20-2014, 08:02 AM   #2
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
gauss's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 1,709
I believe that there were several TeD talks on this that you can see over at TED: Ideas worth spreading. They have both the videos and the transcripts available.

To avoid inundating you with choices, the talks by Barry Schwartz and Malcom Gladwell come to mind.

-gauss
__________________

__________________
gauss is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2014, 08:06 AM   #3
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
easysurfer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 7,886
Every time going to the store to pick out my favorite toothpaste this comes to mind. The chore is like finding the needle in the haystack of different brands.
__________________
Have you ever seen a headstone with these words
"If only I had spent more time at work" ... from "Busy Man" sung by Billy Ray Cyrus
easysurfer is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2014, 10:06 AM   #4
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
imoldernu's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Peru
Posts: 4,616
Quote:
Originally Posted by gauss View Post
I believe that there were several TeD talks on this that you can see over at TED: Ideas worth spreading. They have both the videos and the transcripts available.

To avoid inundating you with choices, the talks by Barry Schwartz and Malcom Gladwell come to mind.

-gauss
Thank you!

Her's a very worthwhile link to the Schwartz video (19 minutes)
Barry Schwartz: The paradox of choice | Talk Video | TED.com
Funny, and direct... Interesting part about the Vanguard Funds and choices for 401K investments.
Also... the psychology of why we become confident in our own choices, even when they are wrong, or why we feel "at fault" in the same situation.
__________________
imoldernu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2014, 10:19 AM   #5
Administrator
W2R's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: New Orleans
Posts: 38,860
I have always regarded indecisiveness to be a character flaw. I blame my upbringing!

Generally I have zero difficulty in making a decision, once I have adequate information upon which to base it. That takes some digging, sometimes.
__________________
Already we are boldly launched upon the deep; but soon we shall be lost in its unshored, harbourless immensities.

- - H. Melville, 1851
W2R is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2014, 10:30 AM   #6
Moderator
MichaelB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Rocky Inlets
Posts: 24,448
This is the answer when someone asks "what exactly is a first world problem"

Quote:
...the problem stretches from the supermarket, with its average of 42,686 different items from which to prepare tonight’s dinner and care for the home...
__________________
MichaelB is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2014, 10:40 AM   #7
Moderator
MichaelB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Rocky Inlets
Posts: 24,448
Quote:
Originally Posted by W2R View Post
I have always regarded indecisiveness to be a character flaw. I blame my upbringing!
Nature or nurture? Is it a character flaw or genetic trait? I can't decide...
__________________
MichaelB is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2014, 11:54 AM   #8
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 1,103
Many's the time I've returned from store with some funky flavored toothpaste, trisquits, etc because I failed to realize all the variations. Generally we favor the originals. You know, plain ol Colgate toothpaste or "original' Trisquits. Someone needs to take these marketing department folks out and shoot them.
__________________
H2ODude is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2014, 12:05 PM   #9
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 3,697
Had a friend visiting from Eastern Europe a while back.

We went to a restaurant and, it was: "soup or salad?", "Caesar, house or spinach?", "blue cheese, Italian, or Ranch?"...I forget the next option for the salad, but my friend was clearly exasperated with the number of options and choices! He had kind of reached a "just give me a damn salad!" point.
__________________
Living well is the best revenge!
Retired @ 52 in 2005
marko is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2014, 01:16 PM   #10
Moderator Emeritus
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 4,929
Easily corrected.

1) read "Dietary Guidelines for America 2010"
http://www.health.gov/dietaryguideli...elines2010.pdf

2) Shop to fit meals to the guidelines, particularly the daily sodium intake of 1,500 mg for all persons 51 and older, and those of any age who are African American or have hypertension, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease.

This will weed out all those frozen prepared foods, the snack aisle, most breads, salted butter and substitutes, canned soups and sauces, salad dressings, etc. You'll be left with the produce section, and part of the butcher's (excepting brined poultry and pork, sausages, cheeses and such).

You may also have to make some changes at home, becoming familiar with that big non-microwave cooking thingie in the kitchen...

And people wonder what we do all day...
__________________
M Paquette is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2014, 03:16 PM   #11
Moderator Emeritus
Bestwifeever's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 16,373
Quote:
Originally Posted by marko View Post
Had a friend visiting from Eastern Europe a while back.

We went to a restaurant and, it was: "soup or salad?", "Caesar, house or spinach?", "blue cheese, Italian, or Ranch?"...I forget the next option for the salad, but my friend was clearly exasperated with the number of options and choices! He had kind of reached a "just give me a damn salad!" point.
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."
__________________
“Would you like an adventure now, or would you like to have your tea first?” J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
Bestwifeever is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2014, 03:37 PM   #12
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Nemo2's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Belleville, ONT
Posts: 4,317
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bestwifeever View Post
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 could throttle those people!
__________________
"Exit, pursued by a bear."

The Winter's Tale, William Shakespeare
Nemo2 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2014, 04:06 PM   #13
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
haha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Hooverville
Posts: 22,384
Quote:
Originally Posted by imoldernu View Post
This is a long read that may be interesting to some.
As I read the article, I found myself mentally comparing today to earlier times in my life, and realizing that not all change is positive. It makes me realize how much more difficult it must be for younger people to make decisions.

How Americans Are Tyrannized By Too Much Choice | Alternet

This partial quote makes the point.


While the piece becomes quite technical, the main theme makes sense to me, and I feel a little better about dealing with the challenges of the future. Understanding that choices may be artificial could, and I hope can, lead to a reduction in stress.

Life is good, but it can always be better.
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
__________________
"As a general rule, the more dangerous or inappropriate a conversation, the more interesting it is."-Scott Adams
haha is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2014, 04:07 PM   #14
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 8,616
Quote:
Originally Posted by marko View Post
Had a friend visiting from Eastern Europe a while back.
I went to an outdoor café in Sofia, Bulgaria back before the Berlin Wall came down. Got a seat and looked at the menu. Lots and lots of items on the menu, but everyone around me was eating one thing: a kind of purple ice cream. When the waiter finally(!) came to take our order, I asked for chocolate ice cream. "We don't have chocolate today."
"Strawberry?"
"We don't have strawberry today" came the answer through lips pursed around a cigarette.
"Vanilla?"
"Not today."
"Well, what do you have?"
"Grape."

It was the absolute worst ice cream I have had in my life. We ate only a small taste and left the rest.
__________________
LOL! is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2014, 04:49 PM   #15
Moderator Emeritus
aja8888's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: The Woodlands, TX
Posts: 7,156
I did some natural gas work in Trinidad a few years ago and we were out in a small town somewhere remote. Stopped in a small cafe and all they had on the menu was chicken sandwiches. So we ordered and the chicken was not boned. I asked if they had chicken without bones and the answer was no.

We are spoiled in the U.S.
__________________
aja8888 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2014, 05:05 PM   #16
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Utrecht
Posts: 2,211
My number one reason for not going to starbucks (or similar): I can't order a coffee

Tried once .. blank stare in return from the barista. Ordered a cookie instead, only three kinds available.

Yes we are spoiled.

I sometimes go to the supermarket and just marvel at the choice I have and examine all the items and varieties of food I never bought in my life. Some of it I don't even understand what it is.

Then I walk to the register and look at the lady in front of me and the guy behind me in line. Usually none of my items overlap with any of theirs!

It's like people are living parallel lives and visiting a completely different supermarkt than I am. It's a miracle.
__________________
Totoro is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2014, 07:00 PM   #17
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 366
Quote:
Originally Posted by LOL! View Post
I went to an outdoor café in Sofia, Bulgaria back before the Berlin Wall came down. Got a seat and looked at the menu. Lots and lots of items on the menu, but everyone around me was eating one thing: a kind of purple ice cream. When the waiter finally(!) came to take our order, I asked for chocolate ice cream. "We don't have chocolate today."
"Strawberry?"
"We don't have strawberry today" came the answer through lips pursed around a cigarette.
"Vanilla?"
"Not today."
"Well, what do you have?"
"Grape."

It was the absolute worst ice cream I have had in my life. We ate only a small taste and left the rest.
My Pop always enjoyed vanilla ice cream, one day I ask him why don't you eat chocolate? Turns out back in the day, chocolate is what you added to vanilla ice cream to cover up the fact that it is stale.
__________________
springnr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2014, 07:12 PM   #18
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso) Give me a forum ...
REWahoo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Texas Hill Country
Posts: 42,099
Quote:
Originally Posted by springnr View Post
My Pop always enjoyed vanilla ice cream, one day I ask him why don't you eat chocolate? Turns out back in the day, chocolate is what you added to vanilla ice cream to cover up the fact that it is stale.
On that same subject, I once worked with a guy who was a former quality control technician in a dairy processing plant. "Don't drink the chocolate milk" was one of his favorite sayings...
__________________
Numbers is hard

When I hit 70, it hit back

Retired in 2005 at age 58, no pension
REWahoo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2014, 07:53 PM   #19
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
NW-Bound's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 19,403
I just glanced at my bookshelf to see that my copy of The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz was still there.

I do not agonize over choices of products, but then I am fairly easy. Sometimes too easy, even on big items like a new SUV which I should have spent more time to see other choices available on the market. I do not like to do shopping.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aja8888 View Post
I did some natural gas work in Trinidad a few years ago and we were out in a small town somewhere remote. Stopped in a small cafe and all they had on the menu was chicken sandwiches. So we ordered and the chicken was not boned. I asked if they had chicken without bones and the answer was no.

We are spoiled in the U.S.
Are you supposed to bite into the sandwich carefully, chew then spit the bones out?
__________________
"Old age is the most unexpected of all things that can happen to a man" -- Leon Trotsky
NW-Bound is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2014, 08:02 PM   #20
Moderator Emeritus
aja8888's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: The Woodlands, TX
Posts: 7,156
Quote:
Originally Posted by NW-Bound View Post
Are you supposed to bite into the sandwich carefully, chew then spit the bones out?
Yes, that was the game plan, but what you really do is take off the bread and pick out as many bones as you can find, then proceed carefully.
__________________

__________________
aja8888 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
An End to DVD Player Tyranny TromboneAl Other topics 0 05-14-2011 07:16 PM
Choice for fixed income portion of portfolio Bart523 FIRE and Money 15 08-23-2006 06:07 PM
job choice semtex FIRE and Money 44 07-13-2006 09:32 AM
Investment Choice for 24 Yr old Son Danny Young Dreamers 59 03-01-2006 01:49 PM
The Tyranny of Sameness RockMiner Other topics 11 03-03-2005 06:15 PM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:36 AM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.