If not, I recommend Why We Buy by Paco Underhill. It’s a fascinating read about the science of shopping, i.e. the way humans physically and culturally shop and what retailers can do to facilitate it. The behaviors and scenarios Underhill describes are familiar.
This quote stood out (discussing that anything and everything is on the Internet):
“So the lack of any filtering is both an embarrassment of riches and sometimes just an embarrassment. It’s given consumers access to spectacular amounts of data (and stuff) but no reliable way to discern what’s worthwhile and what’s not, what’s trustworthy and what’s louche*” (230).
What does it mean to strive for minimalism in an economy and culture based on consumption? Buying is an encouraged habit, and there are so many things to choose from. Have you ever walked into a store to buy jeans, and felt so overwhelmed by the variety of jeans that you immediately wanted to give up and go home?
My uncle calls this “optional paralysis.” I’ve also heard it called The Paradox of Choice.
Thanks to the abundance of buying options, Underhill refers to us as “addled, overwhelmed consumers.” I’ve certainly felt that way! What about you?
*louche: \ˈlüsh\ not reputable or decent. (I had never heard this word before.)