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23 July 2012 @ 02:46 pm
How choice can ruin things  
I never really thought about what my credit card looks like. It's a piece of plastic you hand someone for a split second, or even, these days, you take it out and slide it through a machine. No one really admires it. Back in the day, you got the card design the card company wanted you to have. Heck, my amazon card is the default design. But Discover gave me a choice. And I really like the choice I made, then they discontinued it. My poor card, all the letters rubbed off, so it no longer says discovered. The mag strip is starting to fail and even some of the raised lettering is getting chipped, but because I once had a choice and I really liked my choice and because I can still choose, but none of the other designs even come close to making me happy, I've been resisting replacing the card.

This is not a tale of woe about my card. Really, I don't care about how the card looks in the end, but it is an interesting bit of psychology. Choice is effort. Many times that effort is rewarded, but sometimes it's more effort than reward. I wonder if this is why apple products are so popular. Someone else did the choosing and then charge you for the effort.

In most cases I like choice, but I think people have to be careful to watch their own psychology to help separate reality form perception.

And no, I still haven't made a choice of what to replace it with.
pekmezpekmez on July 23rd, 2012 06:51 pm (UTC)
zubatac probably wasted several evenings because his card offers a "we will print whatever picture you choose on your card for free", so of course he had to choose. And resize. And crop. And mockup. And compare to other photos. But now has a credit card that maeks him irrationally happy. Until they stop offering that service on the renewal card, or something.
Binkbinkbink on July 23rd, 2012 06:55 pm (UTC)
Observed and researched
They have discovered that too many choices have the potential to create a quandary in the customer that results in them leaving without making ~any~ purchase.
Give them just a few choices, enough to let them feel like they actually got to make a choice, and they buy the least annoying one. Give them many, and they try so hard to find the one that isn't less than ideal, that they give up.

I wonder if that relates to how easy it is to find the product when it is there, and how much time and effort it takes to not find it, when it is not there.

I'll call this problem The Exhaustive Search Fatigue Syndrome.
desireearmfeldt on July 23rd, 2012 07:59 pm (UTC)
Matt: "Mystery is the spice of life."
Sally: "Variety is the spice of life."
Matt: "Well, variety has always been a mystery to me. Give me one choice, I can take it or leave it. Give me two, and I can't decide. Give me three, and I don't want any part of it."

--Talley's Folly