I think my total time, including the bus rides downtown and back (even though I was probably doing other things downtown on that trip like “working”), was probably less than she spent opening ten thousand different tabs in her search for The Perfect Glove.
And then in a couple years I had to do it again because I could only find one of the gloves when it started to be too cold for bare hands again. It ain’t worth investing a ton of time into picking gloves or umbrellas or other things that tend to get lost or separated.
Shopping for physical goods on the Internet sucks.
> [T]he problem is that now, somewhat suddenly, perfect knowledge of the perfect glove, for you specifically, exists, if you simply do enough research.
When you're shopping in a physical store, you have no expectation that you're going to find the absolute, one-and-only perfect glove (or whatever) in the world for you. Even in the largest stores, you understand that their shelf space is limited, and therefore you set your expectations not to find the absolute, one-and-only perfect glove in the world for you, but to find a glove that's good enough for your needs. As long as you can find something that meets your requirements at an acceptable cost, you come away satisfied. Maybe not thrilled, but satisfied.
The infinite variety of online shopping tells us to set our expectations higher than that. Suddenly every thing we buy has to be the perfect version of that thing for us -- because if it isn't, that means we are lazy dullards who lacked the research skills and/or wherewithal to go out and find the perfect version. Instead of it being the fault of the shop that we had to settle for good enough, suddenly it's our fault.
The only way out of this trap is to realize that there is no such thing as the perfect product, that even the works of the finest craftspeople are going to have flaws and blemishes on them, and that good enough really is, you know, good enough.
Or, in other words, that happiness is not a glove that you can buy.
Meanwhile on the internet, and Amazon especially, no one cares about quality any more. 9 out of 10 results are bottom tier unknown brands selling gloves that photograph well. They may be barely 1mm thick, appear to be sewn by someone wearing boxing gloves, and won't last two washes, but look at all that "choice". That's really crap masquerading as choice. Amazon seem to foolishly believe their reputation is immune to the shite on the marketplace and in every Amazon search.
On the internet good enough is increasingly rare. Even a "trusted" brand races to the bottom. For most physical things, clothes and shoes especially, I'm back to the shops and sad that so many of them have closed lately.
It shouldn't be this difficult!
> The infinite variety of online shopping tells us to set our expectations higher than that.
made me think a bit -- that used to be true for me, but the effect is trending in the opposite direction now. I have learned that it's very nearly impossible to tell if a product being shown is actually any good or not unless I'm already familiar with that company's products, regardless of what the product listing or product reviews say.
Yes, but my point is that the inability to tell whether or not a product is any good reduces analysis paralysis because it reduces the trustworthiness of the analysis.
I suspect online dating has some similar effects.
Today, it's really easy to go down a rabbit hole finding the best/best value/etc. place complete with lots of squinting at reviews to see if they're for real and/or have the same criteria you do.
I mostly don't sweat it too much but it's easy to do so.
I used to buy a lot of videotape at Price Club. I really liked the Maxell Hi-Fi tapes; they carried multiple grades of the Maxell line. After Costco took over, only Sony was sold.
Another example: the credit card partnerships. First Discover only, then Amex only, now Citi-branded Visa.
Some time ago I read about a paper on HN. It was explaining what can you do to maximize happiness in life. IIRC, one piece of advice therein was to avoid comparison shopping. You elaborated very clearly why.
In general, more choices don't make you happier -- in fact they usually have the opposite effect.
> When you're shopping in a physical store, you have no expectation that you're going to find the absolute, one-and-only perfect glove
Tinder for gloves problem sort of? The misleading impression of infinite possibilities on the Internet. In real life you optimize for local maximum only
As an aside: I'd love to find the best cat wand toy. I've tried hundreds from pretty much all the major eCommerce sites and they all suck. If someone knows of one that won't break immediately I'd be willing to pay top dollar for it.
But yeah, unfortunately as other commenters have pointed out, in small towns and even where I am in Albuquerque, brick & mortar stores are either disappearing or aggressively shifting their business to the internet, so it's becoming more and more unavoidable to come into contact with reviews and whatnot even for relatively basic items.
It won’t be The Best but it will have a much lower carbon footprint than buying another plastic one made in China, shipped across the ocean, and then shipped around three or four times while people try to arbitrage costs between major e-commerce sites. And if you have any kind of mystical bent then it can also have the bonus of being charged with you thinking about how much you love your little mouse-murderer, and that will make it far better than any mass-produced toy.
I don't know if there is a best one, but after trying several, my cats found one they really like:
We got this expansion kit to go with it:
One nice thing about this wand is that it has three telescoping sections, so the tip section is thin and wiggly.
It's so wiggly that the cats learned to use it on their own!
Yet I always end up wasting many hours. I can't drive, so it's public transport and walking everywhere for me (that's fine, it just adds to the time). My experience has been that if you know exactly what you want and it's anything slightly off the beaten path, you're going to have a hard time finding a store that will stock it.
Recent examples that come to mind: a certain kind of USB cable, an SSD, musician's earplugs, an induction cooker. Plus almost any book that I want.
This year was the first year that I've done the majority of my Christmas shopping online (I actually managed to get to it early enough!). It's been hands-down the best experience I've had Christmas shopping. Not to mention that I haven't had that Mariah Carey Christmas song shoved down my ears this year as a result :)
Physical stores just can't compete for certain kinds of shoppers.
Also, I hear so much about physical stores treating their employees like shit. Primary examples include GameStop and EB Games. When I think of that, I think that some stores deserve to fail.
Wait until you hear about amazon.
This year I wanted to buy a TV, and wanted to see them in real life to judge colors/brightness levels, and shockingly, in London, I found just one place which had like 10 TVs from the leading brands. I'm sure there are a few more, but I wasn't able to locate them using google, or walking the main shopping streets. I remember shops 10 years ago which had acres of electronics (albeit in a different country).
Instead I have to order it online and then if I don't like it, either return it to the store or send it back via post.
While its super convenient for the consumer, in some respects, ordering everything online seems wasteful and bad for even the consumer and retailer in many respects.
It's not that the internet provides too wide a selection, it's that it fails to provide some very basic pieces of information.
How does the product feel in your hand? Is it soft? Does it feel durable? Does the stitching look neat, or haphazard and frizzy?
When we evaluate a product in person, we make all of these assessments without even thinking about them.
It's also why every product is like 4.5 stars -- they just astroturf the reviews by giving away product.
After the last few decades of recessions, stores have gradually dropped their inventory of goods for anybody outside the meat of the bell curve. I will shop for things for months just to buy local and end up buying online because nobody will carry what I want or will fit.
Buying physical commodities or items where those factors don't matter on the Internet is incredible. I don't have to go anywhere, I don't have to talk to anyone, I don't have to lug anything anywhere, etc.
She had a terrible time spending days researching the Perfect Pair Of Gloves online, going to the one “big box” store in her area that had supposedly had it, and going back home ungloved instead of looking at other stores when the one store had no gloves in stock that day. I had a perfectly fine time going downtown when I was probably going there for some other reasons already and visiting a couple of stores looking for some Okay Gloves.
To promote quality discourse, I will not reply. Feel free to edit and re-submit.
In two taps, right in front of her, ordered it.
Said she understood.
Thanked her for showing it to me.
Is twenty bucks really that precious to you that you’ll throw money out of your local economy into Bezos’ pockets? Right in front of someone who just helped you decide this is the watch you wanted and could have put it in your hands right now instead of waiting for shipping in the middle of the super-busy Christmas season and hoping it’s not gonna end up be a counterfeit copy?
The time of the employee who showed it to you costs money.
Shopping has always sucked. Badly. Going to the shops has to be one of the single most annoying and unpleasant day to day experiences I deal with.
If you live anywhere even remotely populous when you visit the shops there are people milling around just ####ing everywhere. Dithering, dawdling, standing around chatting at every choke point in the aisles, demonstrating a spectacular lack of spatial awareness - but, honestly, who can blame them when the entire environment is so overstimulating and overcrowded?
And after all this there's a damn good chance you're not going to find what you want anyway.
I dare anyone to visit a department store in a city for half an hour on a Saturday and come out afterwards without having entertained a single murderous thought.
But nowadays I can do a bit of research online, which might be quick or might take a while depending on what I want, find exactly what I want, find somewhere that sells it (generally not Amazon because I just don't trust them that much these days), and either order it for delivery, or click and collect (very handy at places like Screwfix, Toolstation, and B&Q).
It's just way less stressful and way more pleasant. I mean, still not necessarily the most fun thing in the world, but it makes shopping suck a lot less.
 There are clearly far worse problems to have, and this may be a #firstworldproblem, but in terms of the normal humdrum routine of daily life, visiting the shops often really sucks.
I'd add that's it's worse because the world is flatter. Why should I buy Brand Item when I can get a version from Alibaba for 10-20%? If it truly is comparable, then why pay the markup when the internet lets me cut out the middleman? But then when the version from Alibaba is total crap, there's no recourse. It's not like a local shop with reputation at risk.
So you end up in this world where nothing matters and it's a race to maximize attention. Which means, as a consumer, you have to do your research or risk getting taken for a ride.
The issue is when you want something different than the millions of other people out there. Sure, things change and the quality may slip, but there is only so much time in the world is comparison shopping really worth it to you?
Electronics especially is very difficult. Take Samsung for example, any phone that is not the latest S-model is really disappointing. Less educated consumers just know that "samsung phones are good", when most reviews only refer to S10. Likewise I can't mindlessly go into a store an buy a Sony TV even if my last Sony TV was good, i need to do the online research to figure out that the last 2 characters in the model-nr indicates if this is the premium version or not. Things change so quickly also that the brand that had the lead one year ago is no longer having the best options.
So the FOMO is paying a brand markup for consistent quality you could get for less.
Then you have "established" brands that are just trying to maximize profit. And "new" brands that are just AliExpress resellers. So trust that even a Brand™ experience will be a good one is waning.
In other words, the premise that you're paying for time savings is less assured, and the information to actually make comparison shopping worthwhile is right there.
The unfortunate reality these days is that the majority of items on, say, Amazon, are the same crap from Alibaba imported by a guy who read a How To Make Money On Amazon book, or just marked up directly by the same people selling on Alibaba. Heck, even the "brand items" may turn out to be a cheap clone that someone had shipped to Amazon fulfillment, bypassing their incredibly stringent "I pinky-swear this really is the authentic item" vetting process.
For example, I'm shopping for landscape lighting right now. You can spend a lot on landscape lighting. A nice bronze spotlight from a "good" brand like Kichler can run you $100+ ea., and I need 8–10 of them.
Conversely, I can get an 6-pack of albeit-plastic spotlights off Amazon from a Chinese company for 40 bucks, with 4.5 stars and 252 reviews.
I am getting ripped off with Kichler? I am getting crap from Zuckeo? Who knows!?
You can get builder-grade and often-ugly crap from Home Depot (see also: Brands not being an indicator of quality), or spend hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars on designer pieces.
I ended up finding one I really liked off a no-name website, with the product shipped from Hong Kong for like $80. Solid metal, reasonable-looking electronics, arrived in 2 weeks, good communication... very happy!
I find “on, say, Amazon” entertaining. Amazon may well be the worst largeish US online vendor. It’s gotten to the point where I trust eBay more.
If you want winter gear, buy from one of several excellent online stores dedicated to it.
Absolutely! I recently bought a simple item, a roll of wiring loom tape. It was on Amazon and had a few reviews that stated that the received tape was old and didn't stick very well anymore.
Same item on eBay for cheaper has the seller specifically mentioning that they only sell fresh tape from the running production, not old stock. Even better, the seller specialized in these (and other) tapes.
It seems that eBay has just cultivated a much higher quality base of vendors. Many of them seem specialized.
I was actually thinking about my recent experience trying to buy a $5 Monoprice USB-PS/2 converter when I typed my original comment.
> I’d love to only spend $17 except there is no way 17-dollar leather gloves won’t be fake and off color and smell of gasoline when they arrive, and after only a few wears the lining will pill or develop holes. I’d love to just buy the $60 gloves except that seems like a pretty large amount of money to spend on non-weatherproof gloves, and how can I, when there are identical $17 gloves right there.
It could also be that the $60 gloves came from the same factory and are exactly identical to the $17 gloves, and if you buy them you're going to get ripped off by at least $43.
I wouldn't say that the problem of shopping is now "perfect information," it's rather a deluge of information liberally peppered with dishonesty and arbitrariness.
All I want to know is what to expect. Will this item break on me after X years/uses, or should I expect it to last longer? Am I paying for the brand/design, or durability?
Personally, I'm trying to cut down on the stuff I buy and discard, and a large part of that is buying quality items that last. In the past, I could expect that paying more means I'll get a more durable product, but that doesn't seem to be the case anymore, especially when I've purchased name brand items that break far more quickly than off brand items.
I just wish we had a better way of signaling the trade-off between durability and aesthetics.
I guess Costco is kind of a bulk version of that...
Also I've been increasingly interested in just buying things once and having them last a decade+, ideally a lifetime (less waste). But this takes a lot of research. Trader Joes does a good job of curating groceries and I've come to trust their choices. It would be nice to have this for products.
Essentially, "This is the version of X that will last 10+ years."
For the one-year anniversary post, I decided to write a follow-up article on the toaster. That's when I discovered, in an ironic twist, that a half-dozen of our flagship pick had caught on fire during operation, and because of this the model had been recalled by the manufacturer.
That's when I realized that trying to find a commodity item that will last for a decade+ is impossible (these days anyway). The same model isn't manufactured for a decade, so you can't rely on history. Major manufacturers make mistakes and/or cut costs and/or sell their brand, so you can't rely on reputation. Even a top-3 recommendation from Consumer Reports did not prevent me from picking a lemon despite my sincere best effort to avoid it.
My trust in such a brand quickly goes to zero.
Take this random Brandless product: https://brandless.com/products/stainless-steel-wooden-turner
Why on Earth would you buy it? How can you possibly tell that it's eco-friendly or not?
I looked at a lotion, which includes the ingredient "fragrance". This is automatically questionable because it doesn't tell you what the ingredient actually is. Moreover, it's a term that companies use instead of telling us what's actually in the product, including any number of potentially harmful ingredients. It is also patently not required for the product to function, so it's clearly against Brandless's stated aim.
Brandless looks to me like an Orwellian marketing gimmick: they claim to be brandless, yet they're actually trying to develop a brand.
Edit: A bit of poking around suggests that Acacia is a fairly sustainable source of wood, so I would guess that's the thing that makes it eco-friendly. Some of their other acacia products do mention this, but the spoon doesn't for some reason.
I do wonder why they felt the need to add metal at all though; I’ve never felt that a plain wooden spoon was lacking anything and having a heat-conductive material in a hot pot seems like a good way to get a burn. The description just says it’s a “nice accent.”
The other alternative is to use specific branded sites, such as LL Bean or REI. These will provide premium products at a premium price.
Finally, you can go directly to the manufacturer. If you want Marmot gloves, go to marmot.com. (Of course, it's unlikely that Marmot actually manufactures their gloves.)
I haven’t but anything from them but this seems to be their premise.
For example if you search reddit for what computer mouse to buy, you'll be told that unless it weighs less than 70g and has holes, it's utter shit and not worth your money.
It is self-policing in some ways. But again, some review categories are better for this than others, and the hive mind can be susceptible to hype and astroturf.
I would pay a decent amount of money for a tool that just filtered out any sites in Google search that promote products using affiliate links.
Some interesting notes from follow-up research :
> In a meta‐analysis of 99 observations (N = 7202) reported by prior research, we identify four key factors—choice set complexity, decision task difficulty, preference uncertainty, and decision goal—that moderate the impact of assortment size on choice overload. We further show that each of these four factors has a reliable and significant impact on choice overload, whereby higher levels of decision task difficulty, greater choice set complexity, higher preference uncertainty, and a more prominent, effort‐minimizing goal facilitate choice overload. We also find that four of the measures of choice overload used in prior research—satisfaction/confidence, regret, choice deferral, and switching likelihood—are equally powerful measures of choice overload and can be used interchangeably.
While obviously there are a variety of incentives involved, the buyer has evaluated a variety of products and found ones that they not only expect to be profitable for them, but that are also something they expect their customers to like and want to buy. Also, it's very unlikely they'll risk selling counterfeits. The majority of Amazon sellers seem to optimize exclusively for profitability, and make up for it by gaming the system with fake reviews and the like.
Buy from a handful of trusted brands; if it doesn't work out, don't buy from them again. Like what people did before all this information was available.
Say I'm looking for something that costs $20 online. I might look at three or four sites. I might take five minutes. It's not worth it to take more time.
Say I'm looking to rent a ski chalet for a week for $3000. Now I'm taking considerably longer - probably at least an evening, followed by letting it sit in my mind overnight.
Let the size of the purchase scale the amount of time you spend looking for a better answer.
Bigger ticket items are a pain, but they also don't have as much variety, so I'm more motivated to get it over with and choose between my available options fairly quickly (buying house, car, etc). I'm also more likely to be able to adapt the more expensive items to my needs.
However, smaller purchases tend to have far more options and searching more will nearly always turn up even more. Smaller items are also difficult to adapt, and I really don't like to add more to the landfill than necessary, so I worry quite a bit over these smaller purchases.
The amount of time spent optimizing is directly related to the impact.
I won’t spend 1 hr looking for a cheaper hotel if it’s a $10 difference. I will if it a $100 difference.
Any sufficiently small brand is drowned out by knockoffs and other crap.
I can't recall a specific example right now, so this is a fictitious one:
- Search "Allen Edmonds belt"
- Results: belts by anyone but Allen Edmonds. "Brand" filter doesn't appear on the left for some reason.
- Search "Allen Edmonds"
- Go to Allen Edmonds seller page.
- Click through a page with every one of their products and find the belts.
edit: I remember the last time this happened was with phone cases.
Amazon is worthless.
- $299.99 - Medium (Brown)
- $299.99 - Small (Black),
- $2.07 - XXXXXXXL (Purple/Green/Orange) (SOLD OUT)
Shopping online should be reserved for cases when either you already know most of what you need to know, through first-hand experience, or when you're willing to do the buy-and-return thing a couple times to find out.
Now we have corrupt and easily gamed review processes and a race to the bottom.
Lack of choice sucks. Limited sufficient choice makes a simple happy life.
I want a e-store where somebody has taken an editorial role in curating their crap. I used to be a habitual researcher and I'm completely burned out on the process.
Oddly enough - DIY stores like Lowe's and Home Depot don't seem to suffer from the 'marketplace disease'.
Yeah, I learned my lesson and buy gloves in person.
REI stores are a great place for buying winter gloves and also bicycling gloves. Other than that: Costco, bicycle dealers, motorcycle dealers.
Of course then the tail began to wag the cow* and the brand became the point; product value became irrelevant. Still it's probably the least terrible way to choose. I want a USB power brick but brand 'N' doesn't sell something that meets my desires: I'll wait.
* chose cow rather than dog because I doubt farmers used to actually brand (German for "burn") their symbol on their dog.
I went to Uniqlo in Faneuil Hall here in Boston yesterday. Simply walking into the store is an _experience_. It's in a historic district, surrounded by quick bites and other fun knick knacks, and the store itself is beautiful laid out.
This is where the physical store absolutely destroys the abysmal online experience. Curation and the human experience.
Probably because of my "smash-and-grab" shopping routine, I don't spend much time searching for that Perfect Item. I just buy something that looks reasonable and hope for the best. If I have bought enough of that kind of item to have a brand preference or non-preference, I would take that into account. If I were wanting to buy some gloves, I'd first go to Amazon (sorry) and search for leather gloves or whatever. I'd maybe use the checkboxes on the left to narrow it down. I'd look at maybe four different choices, and pick one. Sometime a day or two later I'd wonder what was in the box, because I would have forgotten about the whole experience already.
My shopping-phobia or whatever it is has conditioned me to not buy too many things, even now where online shopping makes it stress-free. Which is probably a good thing, because I'm always trying to downsize anyway thinking I have too much crap.
17, which is too risky, and 60, which isn't 17, which is too risky...
There are probably hundreds of salespeople inside small business abodes in a 20 mile radius who are trained in the diplomacy of breaking out of that loop without making the author feel like a complete idiot.
Not saying a brick-and-mortar is a utopia, but at least the problem of ending up with a 5-star pair of "glarves" goes away.
You can (or at least should be able to) go to a store look at the product, try it on, look at the quality first hand and then buy them.
But we've accepted that it's better to save 25% or 50% so that we can avoid the inconvenience of actual shopping.
Furthermore, there are brands that make good stuff and have good customer service, stick to those brands until they prove to be untrustworthy.
Don't reward Amazon just for building a nice website.
A service that, for a subscription fee, provides product reviews/recommendation lists, plus a concierge "recommend a product for my requirements" service. Maybe throw in basic troubleshooting help as well.
All reviews and recommendations would come from staffers, so it can't be gamed with fake reviews short of bribing someone.
The author comes so close to this realization near the end of the piece when he says:
> But isn’t that terrible for the environment?
And never follows up on that statement.
We spend decades of consumerism buying whatever was available with little forethought because either we didn't have a choice, or we didn't really care because it was cheap and got the immediate job done. This resulted in single-use products littering the shelves of most retail outlets because of our focus on instant-gratification.
Wirecutter may make people overthink their purchase experience but at the very least educates people on the pros and cons of different products which is something the market has woefully failed at doing.
"Back in the day", I didn't even have the option to buy a USB-chargable hand warmer to keep my cell phone's battery from dying in the cold so I could hike in the winter and be within contact for various reasons. But my options are to buy one USB-chargable hand warmer/charger that will probably work for part of a season before it stops working, and another hand warmer/charger that will probably work for part of a season before it sets my house on fire when I try to charge it, and there's no way to tell which is which.
There are also:
1. The issues with online misrepresentation and fraud.
2. The limited amount of information (far from perfect as TFA asserts) of online shopping. Heck, half the time you cannot even limit a results set to the product you're interested in, rather than a slew of vaguely associated items). Fit, finish, and quality can often only be assessed directly in person.
If you spend time "optimizing" your life according to the Diderot Effect, you'll find these brands that are sitting at the top of their industry, quietly producing excellent products used by people who know exactly what they want.
It can be a dangerous thing to start only using the "best products", but once you start knocking off the low hanging fruit, you can make a noticeable difference in the quality of your life by having products that excel at their job.
I was telling my boss the other day that I wished there was an AI that I could give a budget, say $100 a month, and it would automatically and incrementally purchase the items I do not have that I would be most likely to enjoy. Maybe it saves up for N months if it's more than my monthly budget etc... Could give manufacturer's a pipeline for stuff (eg, AI declares I'm going to buy item X at $Y in Z months, please make it) ...
I gave them both a try and had some success but wasn’t that into it, but they’re supposed to kinda build price/style profiles over time. I just decided I wanted more control / I wanted to research things to death (this article hit home).
And here I thought that consumerism couldn't get any worse ...
You go and say "I want a pair of black leather gloves, in this size." Check a box or two about your usecase, and give them your price range... and viola. A few minutes later you've got 2-3 to pick from. Even include a "I'm feeling lucky" option.
Though, I imagine even saving people time for things like "I need a hammer" would save people enough time comparison shopping that you could still take a cut and everyone would be happy.
It's been a long time since a long-form vice article has really resonated with me. I am happy that we're clearly moving away from a world of a million variations of the same plastic crap to a place where consumers are demanding the right thing.
Living in Australia, adding ‘ozbargain’ and ‘whirlpool’ instead to another two searches to follow up completes the trifecta.
I just hope Google never optimises for that because then the content of bad reviews will shift to and overwhelm these sites instead. When a metric starts being the target it ceases to be a good metric.
Amazon search result provides about 10 items per click to next page. In a traditional store you can see hundreds of goods at a glance, plus tons of rich info like smell, size, texture.
For products with standard specs like cable and socket, it’s pretty good to shop online. But for basically everything else, I prefer to travel downtown.
Of course, then she is assuming that Amazon has her best interests at heart, and hasn't just chosen whichever product makes them the most money.
But, by shopping at a store with a more limited product selection than Amazon, you are relying on the same assumption. Also, the assumption is almost certainly wrong in all cases.
Buying something without actually holding it in your hands and testing it out will never be an awesome experience. You can't really trust reviews and ratings. But you can usually return stuff and I don't see why the author made such a fuss about returning.
Being annoyed at my local shops wanting £100 for a wallet I went on ebay a ordered a leather one for £2.25 inc post in 2014 and still in daily use now. The internet is remarkable for shopping in some ways.
Most people know excel and could probably prefer this.
1. You have the choice of getting any of the options you want, that are not available in store near you in 2 days sitting at home.
2. You can compare prices on each of those items and choose the price point that best suits you.
3. You have an option to get information from people who have previously owned that item and read their thoughts and reviews.
4. You can order as any many you want, and spend 5 mins preparing a return and 10 - 15 mins returning the item (or, just pay a small fee to get it collected back from your house)
Yet, you choose to drive down to a store, a store which probably doesn't have an online inventory index. Try to find an option you want, don't find it, and now you're mad?
Do you see the hypocrisy?
In a nut shell, what modern age humanity will desperately wish.
I wonder how digital native kids handle this?
It is from 2012 by the way.
By contrast, if all the designers, manufacturers, and sellers were working not individually for their own profit, but for a salary (and intrinsic motivation) along consciously, democratically planned lines, we could have a rational and sane number of good quality gloves (etc) to choose from.
As Marx said, "In bourgeois societies the economic fiction prevails, that every one, as a buyer, possesses an encyclopedic knowledge of commodities." What is funny is he said that in about 1850.
It won't actually be "democratically planned". It will be as democratic as a "democratic republic". It will be bureaucratically planned (by your salaried people). Historically, that has worked out badly. It hasn't worked out with the consumers being happier. Yeah, I know, "this time will be different, because we'll hire the right people". I'm very skeptical.
But if your central planning bureaucracy messes up, there's no way to bypass it to get what you want to buy.
Or was your point that workers' fulfillment is more important than consumers' satisfaction? That might be a workers' paradise, but it's a lot less nice for the consumers. But the problem is that workers and consumers are the same people. I'm not sure that it would be a net win...