The Paradox of Choice

Sometimes I think I am really losing it. Like really. What else could explain the fact that I went to Marshall’s today with the express purpose of returning three things, intending to put them toward store credit for two things- a photo album and a necktie for Dan, yet I found myself returning home with a nightgown for me (it was only $7, and sooo cute!), a black waffle long sleeve (for under my scrubs, only $3!!!), a cute sleeveless linen ruffled white top for me, a photo album (at least I didn’t get completely sidetracked), a cute notebook, and.. not one, not two, not three… but six neckties for Dan? Somewhere between the idea of wanting to find him one great necktie to match his gray suit, matching up a white dress shirt with something gray to find the perfect color match, and realizing that all these shiny, silky Michael Kors and Kenneth Cole ties were priced at just ten dollars (Yes, ten dollars each!) I found myself paralyzed by all the choices and just got them all. I justified it by deciding I would take five back once I found out which one Dan liked best/hated least. So it’s not that I am never going to make a decision, I am just going to delay it and delegate it.

My next stop was the libarary. I meant to put a few books in the drop box. Which I did. But I was just four short feet from the entrance to the warm, cozy library… You know where this is going. Never mind that I am still hoarding Boulder Public Library’s copies of the scary cell phone radiation book and the Phillip Roth book I haven’t started yet, and that I am still in the middle of “Kiss Me Kill Me” and a Zora Neale Hurston one I was really into six weeks ago, plus the copy my dad gave me of Shutter Island at Thanksgiving, which I haven’t even cracked… I walked out with no fewer than half a dozen books, with titles ranging from “How We Decide” (for my book club) to “Perfect Murder, Perfect Town” (I am kind of obsessed with Jon Benet Ramsey… I am curious to see how this one compares to the other one I read about her murder). The potpourri also included topics on childbirth (for informational purposes only!!) and notebooks of convicts.

Here’s the thing I am now realizing… It’s not that I have the attention span of a child. It is the fault of society that I am this way! I learned this from a Ted Talk I watched the other night while I was doing my strength routine in the basement. And can I just say, Ted Talks are the greatest thing to watch while you are working out!? You don’t have to be watching the whole time as long as you can hear it, and instead of rotting your brain by watching The Bachelor which I may or may not have been addicted to in the very recent past, you actually get smarter by watching these. And each one is only 20 minutes long!! So if you have the attention span of a child limited time, it’s perfect! Thank you psychologist Barry Schwartz for helping me understand that my issue is just the Paradox of Choice, and it is really a function of society, not me. Here is the link to Mr. Schwartz’s enlightening talk.

3 thoughts on “The Paradox of Choice

  1. Kim says:

    im the same way with Target or CVS – go in with a set list, but come out with much much MUCH more! hey, any recommendations for some beach reads? i have 3, but want more!

  2. Pam says:

    Kim-Good vacation books-Lulu meets god and doubts him by Danielle GanekHow to be Single by Liz Tuccillo Into Thin Air by John Krakauer (more serious than the other ones but gripping)Have fun!

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