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I remember as a boy at Christmas time going to Hudson’s in downtown Detroit, where the merchants had set up a sort of store within the store for youngsters to shop for their parents. It was the first time I was ‘on my own’ to shop. Before me was a plethora of items and I soon became boggled-down sorting through the many variables and items.  I could not make up my mind what to buy. Faced with too many options and too many factors – and a sense there was ‘the right one’ – I froze; left the store without spending a dime.

My purchasing neurosis continues to this day. Buying something as inane as breakfast cereal becomes as complicated as a Hari Seldon Plan. Price, volume, and nutritional contents combine with political matters, recyclable (or not) packaging etc. conflate to the point I often don’t buy any cereal at all or I buy something shiny at eye-level. Either makes me feel fatuous.

Worse when I do make a decision to buy something based on my research this doesn’t leave me with a satisfaction of success but raises doubts I missed a vital variable, thus invalidating the purchase as the ‘right one”.

Someone does our travel arrangements. He obtains our airplane tickets, rental car, and hotels. He does this thoughtfully with research. I wonder how on earth he wades through all variables to come up with the final decisions and purchases.  Perhaps he doesn’t take in as many factors; perhaps he looks only at ones with the most weight.*

At work I’ve learned patients dislike being told what to do viz. “no choice” but they equally dislike too many choices. Two or three choices are satisfactory for a person to grasp and feel good enough about making a decision.

I need to become more at ease at letting go of decisions. Picking out the toothpaste need not be as scrutinizing as reviewing scientific paper published in JAMA. The gods won’t strike me down for making an “error”; Consumer Reports isn’t going to laugh at me for not getting ‘the best buy’.  How nice it would be to purchase some brand of crackers, have Someone question the purchase, and reply in east “It sounded good, I just wanted it”.

 

*Perhaps I am just a neurotic ditz.

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