One of the media planners at Adcenter was recently an unwitting participant in a barter trade with Richmond's homeless. Josh had an old Coleman tent in the back of his pick-up truck, underneath the big truck box right behind the cab. The key word being "had." He came out of his apartment one day to find that he had been relieved of his tent. In it's place, his trading partner left him an old boot with a twig in it. The hobo economy is alive and well in Richmond, Virginia.
Two planners from Venables Bell were here this morning and one of them mentioned something about the idea of tyranny of choice. That's a great way to verbalize it. Sometimes people need a little hand in their customization of things. When I was ordering my messenger bag last year I spent probably around an hour agonizing over the look that I wanted, and in the end I finally had to give up and just pick something they had already layed out. I couldn't make it work by myself. Of course that might just speak volumes about my abilities as a designer. But according to this article, the vast amount of choice that we have is making us unhappy because of the tremendous opportunity cost of picking one option in a sea of others. In the end, it seems that 31-flavors may have been the beginning of our demise.