The problem with choices …

… is that most people second guess their decision.

When faced with a huge number of choices in front of them, most people will fret and fuss and debate and contemplate until the frustration leads to simply grabbing something that they hope will work and going for it.

It’s the video store syndrome. Remember those places? Before internet streaming you actually had to GO somewhere to rent a movie? And what did you do when you got there? Wander, look, fret, fuss, debate, and finally grab something and go.

Then when watching the movie, if it didn’t hit you the way you wanted you second guessed your decision.

The choices in the wine world

I saw this just yesterday. A buyer for a new restaurant is past deadline for submitting her final draft. She has four great sales reps calling on her, but she made the mistake of asking all of them to bring her some Cotes du Rhone to taste. What happened? 23 Cotes du Rhone later, she has no idea what to do.

How can you use this idea in your business? Three ideas:

  1. Sales reps: do the choosing for the customer, not the other way around. Phrase the sales call around “we have X number of ________ from ________ and I think this ONE hits all the points of what you need.”
  2. Retailers: Choice can be good if not overused, but information is key. Which of the Chiantis is the Staff Pick? What’s the featured rosé? Next week is Thanksgiving, so what is great with turkey?
  3. Restaurants: Never forget that your customers come to you because you have made certain decisions for them. You have chosen what type of food to offer, what kind of vibe to have in your room, and what beverages to offer. More is not better. Better is better.


Too Many Choices: A Problem That Can Paralyze, New York Times

The Paradox of Choice, TED Talk

Trader Joe’s: Where Less is More, Psychology Today


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