Too Many Choices, Too Little Time


Every day, we are faced with a multitude of choices. This begins the minute we wake up and doesn’t end until the minute we go to bed. Sometimes it’s easy to choose, and it happens without us even realizing we’ve decided anything. We choose to get out of bed and go to work or school (most days); we choose to engage in personal hygiene (at least, we should); and we choose to follow the law (for the most part). Other times, however, choosing requires a bit more thought, which makes things more difficult.

For someone who hates making decisions, these thought-inducing choices are terribly obnoxious.  Even worse, they seem to be never-ending. Decisions that were once easy to make have become difficult simply because there are so many options. More options simply lead to a desire to try as many of them as possible. This is where samples come in handy.

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A Plate? More Like a Platter

Restaurant menus have gotten overwhelmingly massive in the past few years. We’ve gone from staring at a single sheet of choices to flipping through page after page trying to somehow decide what option looks better than the rest. With all the delicious possibilities, all you really want is to try a little taste of everything.

In many cases, trying more than one thing at a restaurant means ordering the sampler platter found in the appetizer section of the menu. These platters tendSampler Platter to contain three or so items, one of which is almost always terrible. Even so, it’s the best – and often only – choice if you want more than one type of food.

Some restaurants take the sampler platter one step further by allowing you to choose which appetizers you’d like. This is both good and bad. On the one hand, you’re able to get foods you know you’ll enjoy; but on the other hand, you’re stuck choosing what those foods will be. A sampler platter is supposed to help you avoid choosing, so it kind of defeats the purpose if you end up having to do so anyway. However, it might not be too difficult, depending on the type and amount of choices.

What’s Better Than Free Food?

Sampler platters are great, but free samples are even better. Grocery stores are among the most notorious places for these out. If you hit places at the right times, you could get enough samples to cover one of your meals for the day. It’s not a bad system if you’re looking for a cheap way to feed yourself, while trying multiple foods at once.

Free SamplesSamples are good for more than just a free meal, though; they’re also a great way to try before you buy. Plus, samples are commitment-free. Perhaps you’ll end up finding something you really like that you wouldn’t have otherwise tried. You could also end up with a complete miss, though. Either way, you don’t have to buy the product.

The downside of free samples is the lack of control. You don’t have any say in what’s being given out, but that’s exactly what you’re looking for if you don’t like making decisions. The options may be limited, but at least you aren’t facing the difficulty of choosing. At worst, it’s a toss-up. At best, you eat your favorite food for free.

Curiosity is a Curse

The increase in choices seems to have led to an increase in curiosity. How are you supposed to know what flavor, fragrance, or brand you prefer if you don’t try them all? From a company’s perspective, it’s brilliant. Amp up people’s curiosity and watch your sales soar. From the consumer’s perspective, however, it’s a nightmare.

One of the biggest issues with having all these choices is the nagging feeling of dissatisfaction. You can’t rest easy until you know what each option is like. Take flavored water for example. Not only do you have multiple flavors to choose from, but you also have several different brands. Sure, there are a few you know you enjoy, but what if there’s one you haven’t tried yet that you like even more? Can you truly be satisfied until you try each flavor from each brand?

Color Options

Some companies are kind enough to create their own sampler packs, but most aren’t that generous. Those that do so are companies that get it. They know how hard it is to choose, so they save you from having to do so. These are the types of companies that deserve more business. Being able to try multiple kinds without having to buy an excess of each is a very satisfying feeling.

Overwhelming Choices

We’re often told how wonderful it is to have choices. However, we’re also told that less is more and to be careful what you wish for. More options might sound better, but they lead to discontentment and an unquenchable curiosity. Samples at least give you the option to satisfy your curiosity and perhaps find contentment at last.

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