Saturday, April 14, 2012

Too Many, Too Good?

Psychologist Barry Schwartz offers startling insights into the maze that we have trapped ourselves into by having too many choices.

Dry humor in a metro
This video reminds me of something that happened in a modern metro. An old man from a remote village was visiting his grandson in the city. One day, while he was alone at his grandson's apartment, he got bored and decided to take a walk. He wandered around the blocks, marveling at the order and the cleanliness, at the zappy cars, the stately buildings,...Finally he got tired and wanted a cup of tea, as was his wont, back in his native village.

He went to a restaurant and sat down at a vacant table. The waitress in immaculate attire approached him with pencil and pad to take the order. The following conversation is purported to have taken place:

"Good evening Sir, what will you have?"

"Good evening. I'd like to have a cup of tea, please".

"Of course sir. We have a variety of teas: peppermint, earl grey, cardamom, ginger, lime, jasmine, and green tea. Which one would you like?"

The old man was confused. The chai wallah at his village sold just a few varieties: with sugar or without, with milk or without. Now how would he know what each of these varieties meant?

"Please, I just would like some old fashioned tea with milk and sugar."

"With pleasure, sir. Now as regards milk what type of milk would you prefer for your tea: we have Natural whole milk,Whole standardised milk,Whole homogenised milk, Semi skimmed milk, and skimmed milk. If you want I can tell you the fat % in each. I'm sure you will want a particular flavor of tea. We have a wide range. To start with: mango green, lychee green tea, strawberry green tea, coconut cream, green apple, passion fruit, mango, lemon, watermelon,..."

Now he was in a dire quandary: What does each of these mean? Could he ask for sample? Or could he ask the waitress about how they tasted? He thought enough was enough, not to push his luck too far.

"I think I will settle for just a glass of water, for now. I'm sure I can try your teas later."

"We have several choices with regard to the drinking water we provide to our esteemed customers, our primary aim being your complete satisfaction: Spring Water, purified water, sparkling bottled water, mineral water, artesian water, or well water. What would you prefer to have, Sir?"

At that moment, her cell phone rang, and she excused herself to take the call.

The old man made his escape precisely at that moment.
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