Thursday, July 9, 2009

The paradox of choice

Recently saw a Barry Schwartz video promoting his book on this website called TED. I really like the website, although the video streams are choppy at times.

I couldn't help thinking about my first Starbucks experience. All I wanted was a good cup of coffee, and the number of choices I had to make to lay my hands on a "tall" (read small) cup of coffee made GRE feel like a joke.

But seriously, I liked one point he makes. To paraphrase: if there is only type of shoe that you can buy, and you don't like the shoe, you can always place blame "out there". But when you go to a restaurant with 100 choices, and hate what you ordered, you have to deal with "guilt", because you could probably have ordered something better. The worst part is, even if you like what you ordered, you sometimes wonder if there was something better on the menu.

Although I am normally content with what is meted out to me, one arena where I have a similar experience is channel surfing. Unless I am watching a Michigan football game, or a new Law and Order episode, I compulsively flip channels, hoping not to miss out on something exciting that I may be missing.

No comments: