Did you know Home Depot has an entire aisle of toilets? Twenty-something toilets to chose from. Why is this? It’s not like toilets come with different kinds of fancy options like heated seats or a Bose sound system. It’s a toilet, for dog’s sake. And looking at twenty of them side-by-side is an exercise in ridiculousness.
DG told me to pick one. I figured he had gone insane, driven over the edge by one too many trips to the Home Depot. My response: “Why are there so many to choose from? They’re all the same and I don’t care.”
DG shot me a look and said, “Now you know how I feel about shoes.”
Now, tempers and patience were running a little short on both sides – fifty trips to the Home Depot will do that to you – so I didn’t try to explain (again) that there really is a difference between my black knee boots with the square toe and chunky heel and my black knee books with the pointy toe and the skinny heel. For one brief moment, I think I understood what it was like to be a man out shopping. If a man has the same reaction to a row of black shoes that I have to a row of toilets…okay, I get it.
(Take note men: There is a difference between a slingback and a peep-toe and they aren’t simply interchangeable. I need both. A toilet is a toilet is a toilet and considering what you do with a toilet, what difference does it make as long as it works? I said I understood your problem, not that the two situations are the same. At all.)
The toilet situation is just one example of the hair-pulling I’m doing these days. Let’s say I want to get a new light fixture for the hallway. I go online to the site that claims “Thousands to choose from!,” enter a couple of parameters, and get it narrowed down to a whopping 750. After years of living with other people’s choices or whatever was cheapest, I was looking forward to picking out what I wanted for this house, so you’d think I’d be in high cotton.
Then I came up against 750 light fixtures, 400 faucet choices, a million shades of ‘blue,’ brushed nickel vs. oiled nickel, 75 choices of cabinet hardware... Cue PC, standing in the middle of Home Depot, staring at a row of identical toilets on the verge of tears.
I found out it has a name, though: Choice Overload.
We all know you can’t give small children too many choices, but it seems adults have a limit too. According to the research, when people are faced with too many choices, they’ll often decide to pick none of them because they simply can’t. If they do make a choice, they’ll often suffer buyer’s remorse almost immediately, because even though they looked through 500 before making a choice, there’s 500 more to choose from and there might be something better there.
It seems most people are happier when their choices are limited. They’re more likely to be satisfied with their choice. They’ll also make the decision more quickly and go on to other, more productive, uses of their time. Some folks will spend hours dithering back and forth, looking for the absolutely PERFECT thing, and still not be happy with the final choice. And to add to insult to injury, they’re not happy they spent so much time on it, either.
So toilet selection will probably fall to my plumber, because DG and I just don’t care as long as the toilets do what they’re supposed to do. I did choose a light fixture for the hallway from what Home Depot had in stock on the store floor. Do I like it? Yep. Will I be happy with it? Yep. Is there something out there someplace that might be even more perfect? Possibly. Am I willing to go look for it? Not just No, HELL NO. I have other stuff to do, and if I want to pull my hair out, I’ll try to decipher my royalty statement, thankyouverymuch.
So, does the thought of 750 similar light fixtures make your eyes cross? Or do you relish the endless possibilities and the joy of the hunt? (And no, DG, 750 pairs of black shoes on Zappos is NOT the same thing at all. It’s not.)
PS: Winners from last week TBR game! Jean (for Lynn’s Concubine) and runner10 and Virginia (for Anna Campbell’s Reckless Surrender). SP gets points for my book, but then loses them because that book came out in February… ~grin~ (Yes, some of my books are quite old, but my game, my rules…) Y’all email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with a shipping address, and let me know if you’d like a book for your TBR pile or a small giftie instead.