Sunday, February 24, 2008


I notice I've gotten several comments on my post about choice. I'm going to mention a book here, one that I think is worth a read by anyone pondering the issue of choice in our society.
My main take-away from this book is the concept of "maximizers" and "satisficers". A maximizer will go to great lengths to get just the right item or experience. If a maximizer wants to go to a restaurant, reviews will be read, friends consulted, the Internet scoured. And still, the maximizer may not actually enjoy the experience. Why? Because what if, after all that a-do, the wrong restaurant had been chosen? The angst, the pain, the frustration, the paralysis.

The satisficer, on the other hand, decides to eat out. He or she perhaps asks their spouse what they prefer, Mexican or Chinese. There's a Mexican place down the street, they go there. They have a good meal, maybe not the best ever, but it's just fine.

Can you guess which type I am? Ha ha! I can't tell you how many times I have gotten so hungry that I'm no longer hungry trying to decide where to eat. I have put off purchases by researching, browsing, shopping 'til exhaustion (but not buying anything, oh no, that's too much of a committment) and not ending up with the item. I choose the stores I actually do shop at based on their liberal return policies, because, gosh, what if I change my mind?

Here's the funny thing. When I do make a purchase or decision that I can't take back, I'm most often happier. I committ more fully to the decision, BECAUSE it's not one I can easily undo.

So that's my personal take on choice. For me, for my happiness less=more. So, I minimize the stores I shop at to just a few, get the bulk of my books from the library (hey, I HAVE to take them back!), and try not to want too much. Because that wanting leads to research, which leads to a whole mess of decisions that I just can't make.


Thirkellgirl said...

Wow, can I relate to *this. Maximizer, all the way, baby. Off on a vacation that will be the last one before dd goes to college, and it's got to be just *perfect!
Love your blog, lurk here all the time.

Heather said...

Any comments/ideas about how to cohabitate if you are a satisfiser and your love associate is a maximizer? And is that why I *always* have to decide what's for dinner???? Thanks for the insight!

Laurel Alanna McBrine said...

I feel like I have found a kindred spirit here! I am also a reading addict. I also like Costco because it simplifies my decision making - no agonizing over endless choices or second guessing myself.