I’m buying an iPhone this week. Yay! I’m a fan of Apple products and love my iPod Touch (which is a now a senior citizen) almost as much as I love my iPad. I adore my MacBook. And I hate my cheap little Android phone. So this week I’m going to invest in an iPhone and I’m really excited about it.
The problem is that I’m spending an inordinate amount of time deciding which carrier to go with. If I’d decided to buy an iPhone just two years ago, I would have had no choice. It was only offered by AT&T. That’s how it was when I bought my iPad and so I didn’t have to even think about options, once I’d decided to make the purchase. Buying an iPad meant just deciding on Wifi + 3g versus Wifi only (I went with the 3G option) and what storage capacity to get (16 gigabytes).
Now, with the iPhone, I have to decide which carrier, which plan, what storage capacity and what color (black or white). I’m having such a hard time with the carrier question that I’m tempted to delay the purchase.
That made me think about the fascinating article last August in the New York Times Magazine called Do You Suffer from Decision Fatigue, which talked about how difficult it is for consumers who are offered a wide variety of options.
My husband is in the market for a new personal computer. He’s a Windows guy. He was going to buy a computer almost three months ago but was paralyzed by all the options. I contrasted that to when I bought my most recent MacBook last fall and all I had to choose from was size (I went with 13”), Pro vs. Air (I went with Pro) and upper or lower tier of speed and capacity (I went with upper).
I purchased my MacBook with maybe a total of 30 minutes of contemplation. My husband spent hours on his PC purchase and still hasn’t bought one. (And at least one of those mind-numbing hours I was trying to help him. It was agony.)
My point here? Even a purchase like a new iPhone (which for me is extremely exciting) is turning into a bit of an exercise in frustration, with feelings of anxiety and insecurity arising, simply because there are so many options to consider.
It’s a good point to remember when I work with clients, many of whom spend much of their time with me making decisions. I need to keep the options clear and try not to throw too many options at them at once.