Are we spoilt by the luxury of too much choice?

1 Mins read

Do you ever struggle to make a decision purely because there is too much to choose from?

Which sandwich should I have for lunch? What film should I pick on Netflix to watch?

Do I need anti-ageing, aloe-vera, sensitive, sun protection, tinted, day or night, oily or dry skin face cream?

Do I choose boyfriend jeans, low-rise, skinny, high-waisted, slim, bootleg? What is the difference between skinny and slim anyway?

In 2015, Tesco chief executive, Dave Lewis, decided to stop stocking 30,000 of the store’s 90,000 products.

This decision came about as Lewis understood that sometimes choice is bad for us, and especially bad for consumerism.

American psychologist and professor of social theory Barry Schwartz wrote in his book, The Paradox of Choice: “If we’re rational, [social scientists] tell us, added options can only make us better off as a society. This view is logically compelling, but empirically it isn’t true … we end up less satisfied with the result of the choice than we would be if we had fewer options to choose from.”

It seems that nowadays we have so much to choose from it makes choosing near impossible; a task that should be fun and easy, you basically make a choice based on preference right? But do we really need so much choice?

Is the luxury of too much choice causing us unnecessary stress?

We decided to take a sample of random items and calculated just how many of each item there were – where it is a product you can buy in a supermarket, we have chosen Tesco for the purpose of keeping our research consistent.

Take a look below to see why you might be having choice anxiety.

Too much choice? by Amy Latham

Source: Tesco online search results.





Research and graphics by Amy Latham

8 posts

About author
Amy is a third year BA Journalism student with a passion for music, social issues and culture. She lives with her two cats, loves tea and chocolate, laughs at everything and is generally a bit of a goof!
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