You’d think that with our increased mobility and online shopping increasing our buying options, consumers would be much more grateful for their purchases. Instead, the excessive range of choices is making it harder and harder for people to find pleasure in their purchases. The reasons for this are:
- The abundance of choice escalates our expectations of what we buy.
- We feel sure that there’s some better deal out there that we didn’t discover.
- If something we buy is not perfect, we ruminate on all the advantages of the alternatives.
- We anticipate the regret that we’ll experience when we will see the same thing in a few weeks at a lower price
Psychologists such as Jessica Colman call such agitated consumers “Maximizers.” They “strive to make the absolute best decision, ‘I must find the perfect…’ They are always looking for the next best thing, and spend a great deal of time and energy making choices. Maximizers also tend to have more depression, regret, and anxiety.” Maximizers maximize the deal but minimize satisfaction in it.
In contrast, “Satisficers” maximize satisfaction. They don’t strive for the best possible deal but can accept something as “good enough.”
While someone who maximizes might obtain an objectively better outcome, they will be subjectively worse off, and less satisfied with their choice. By embracing and appreciating satisficing, and attempting to intentionally cultivate it, people have less regret and more peace of mind.
To become a better “satisficer” Julia Colman recommends:
- Setting deadlines for decisions.
- Limiting the number of shops or websites you will research.
- Making decisions non-reversible.
- Focusing on the good elements of the decision.
- Accepting a degree of buyer’s remorse.
- Limiting comparison with others.
Just like yesterday, some helpful practical tips to help us learn “in whatever state I am, to be content,” (Phil 4:11) and “in every thing to give thanks” (1 Thess. 5:18).