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How Too Many Brand & Product Choices = Decision Fatigue

Embrace the Streamlined Choice Lifestyle

While teaching an emerging marketing trends class at NYU this year, product innovation in the food arena arose during one class.

I shared matter of factly that I shopped at Trader Joe’s every week or every other week, and purchased mostly the same items weekly. That shopping for me took 10 mins max in the grocery store. I honestly thought this was how most must shop, a quick zip around the perimeter for perishables and then a jaunt down aisles with packaged products for your household.

I was enlightened. Instead of head nods which I presumed, students looked at me quizzically. We halted the lesson to explore and examine my shopping habits. It was then that I was forced to think through WHY. Why grocery shopping only took 10 mins. Why I didn’t enjoy Stop N Shop, Shop Rite, Pathmark or Kroger. Upon thoughtful on-the-spot consideration, I realized that I was overwhelmed by choice. I craved the curation that Trader Joe’s offered (not to mention their low prices for great quality foods). Only 2 kinds of Ketchup to choose from, one organic and one non-organic, EASY. Only two kinds of oatmeal to choose from and eight yogurt options, SCORE!

For me, less time shopping means more time creating and exploring life. Post-class, one student, Dave, shared this link with me about decision fatigue. Which is another issue. “Decision fatigue leads to consumers making poor choices with their purchases.” Like most, I have a lot going on in this brain, and make poor choices because of the abundance of choices. How many calories, how many grams of fat, how many grams of fat per calorie, GMO, wheat, gluten, enriched flour? It’s just too much. Add to that the everyday of drama of living and working in NYC, and it’s all around #teamtoomuch. What’s a girl to do????

Let’s think about it. Each day we must decide what to wear, how to style your hair (ladies), what to eat (3x daily), how to navigate the streets (via car or subway), when to call your friends and family, what date to set playdates with your friends, how to get to work most efficiently and safely, amongst many other decisions thrust upon us re: childcare, eldercare, healthcare, work, coworker drama…etc. And forget about cable or satellite TV or radio or the ridiculous # of choices of sanitary napkins (sorry guys), but really ladies? It’s just paper.

I believe our minds are more free to create and connect with others when we are not so bogged down with decisions and the fatigue that often results from it. So, I’m personally endorsing a streamlined choice lifestyle for you and your family in which you have a more limited # of choices. Indulge and watch your creativity and productivity flourish.

Tonight, I went to buy a replacement pair of headphones tonight at B&H Electronics Superstore on 34th Street in Manhattan. The key phrase being “superstore.” The energy of apprx 25 other customers in a congested section choosing and comparing amongst what felt like over 300 SKUs of headphones combined with the buzzing the sales people was overwhelming. I made my choice, after 30 mins, unscathed, but exhausted.

Written by

Founder, Omerge Alliances. Creator, Freedom At The Mat. Marketing Strategist & Educator (NYU). Mizzou Journalism & Gonzaga University Grad.

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