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.
lyrics to Johnny Cash's "Busted"
My bills are all due and the babies need shoes,
But I'm Busted
Cotton's gone down to a quarter a pound
And I'm Busted
I got a cow that's gone dry
And a hen that won't lay
A big stack of bills
Getting bigger each day
The county's gonna haul my belongings away,
But I'm Busted
So I called on my brother to ask for a loan
'Cause I was Busted
I hate to beg like a dog for a bone,
But I'm Busted
My brother said, "there's not a thing I can do,
My wife and my kids
Are all down with the flu
And I was just thinkin' about callin' on you,
'Cause I'M Busted."
Lord, I ain't no thief, but a man can go wrong,
When he's Busted
The food that we canned last summer is gone,
But I'm Busted
Now the fields are all bare
And the cotton won't grow
Me and my family's gotta pack up and go
But I'll make a living, just where, I don't know
'Cause I'm Busted
My grocery store has a card. My video store has a card. My gym has a card. My credit has a card. My school has a card. I have punch cards from restaurants and oil change places. I have a drivers license, health insurance cards, dental insurance cards, a social security card and I have scan tags on my key chain. I have too many cards already…and now the place where I get my haircut has started using a "client card." I don't have room for this thing in my wallet. In the order of card hierarchy this haircut card is right at the bottom. I don't want this thing, and I don't carry it with me. The employees at this place look at me like I've ruined their day every time I go in there and report that "I have a card but I don't have it with me." I understand that there are good intentions behind it … but I think we may have passed the point of card saturation. I can't carry anymore. Additionally, it seems to me that they've over thought their role in a person's life and how to offer their services. A haircut should not involve the scanning of bar codes. If it does, there is a chance that your customer service system has been over-engineered.
Wow, that was a doozy. Aside from the great meetings that I had with the agency people I met with, my trip to New York and Chicago was one disaster right after the other.
Sunday Night: Chicago Midway was too windy so we were rerouted to Indianapolis for two hours while they refueled and waited the storm out. Once we finally touched down in Chicago there were around 40 people from the flight looking for a cab at 3:30 in the morning. We arrived where we were staying around 4:30 after winning an argument with the cab driver about his taking us to the wrong place.
Tuesday Afternoon: Walking into the Leo Burnett building in Chicago turned into an adventure in bloodborne pathogens when a crazy homeless guy spit blood in my face before hissing and running out of the building. The remainder of the afternoon was spent at the emergency room being tested for ebola.
Wednesday: Our flight to New York was delayed. Not all that bad considering Tuesdays events.
Friday: Ah the trip home. Well maybe not. After having our upgraded business class seats unupgraded for security purposes, we boarded our flight that was delayed for two or three hours only to sit on the plane for 45 minutes before being asked to deplane because the one we were on was broken. After another hour or so we boarded the substitute flight, taxied for what seemed like days, then flew to Atlanta about an hour after our connecting flight had already left. We were then given a free voucher for a hotel and a flight for Saturday morning that left at 8 am. I've now arrived home 12 hours later than expected…but at least I made it.
This concludes my whining. Thank you for traveling Airtran.