4 years ago
I was visiting a Starbuck’s today and trying to order a coffee. Don’t misunderstand me by what I am going to say; I like Starbuck’s, but I don’t go there very often. However, I was struck by the complexity of the store. Just choosing and ordering a simple coffee was not simple. There were multiple decisions to be made; even the classification of sizes had evolved from the relatively straightforward small medium large to tall, grandi, and venti. It was a new language. Perhaps this is a marketing technique; people like exotic things and ‘new’. but it seemed unnecessarily complex to me.
I realized what they are doing in Starbuck’s is a basic human tendency: to complexify. It makes things more interesting. It gives a feeling of richness through variety. It provides a feeling of freedom through choice. Sometimes it provides people with a source of power.
And yet it is unnecessary.
And it complicates our lives.
It made me recall a time I was visiting Canada. I did not have any shampoo, and wanted to buy some. Easy huh? Just go to the store and buy some. Or so I thought. Then on arrival at the store, I was stunned. The sheer variety of shampoos available to me was paralyzing. I simply had no basis for making a judgement as to which shampoo was good or appropriate. I often could not tell what was different between any two bottles without spending time reading each and comparing them. What a waste of time! And deciding was still difficult!
Simple is good. It cleans our lives. It is frugality.