When I was a kid back in the early 70’s we lived in a tower block near Shepherds Bush, London. My mother would often send me down the shop to buy something she had unexpectedly run out off. I didn’t mind as It wasn’t very far and I usually got a little bit of money for going which I, of course, used to spend on sweets (or if it was near fireworks night, bangers!).
One of the items I was very often asked to buy was washing up liquid. She would say to me “don’t buy the expensive one (fairy), buy the cheaper one (own brand, Londis I think)”. That was an easy job for me pick one of two available washing up brands and make sure I go for the cheap one. The implication (and actual fact) of that conversation was that there were ONLY TWO to choose from.
Well the other day I happened to be in Tesco trailing behind the Mrs pushing the wonky wheeled trolley when we came to the washing up section. Normally I am so bored by this point that I wouldn’t notice if a marching band came up the aisle but for some reason I happened to look up and see the display of bottles of washing up liquids. I was amazed. There were different ‘flavours’ (god knows why?), different colours (again, god knows why?) and different ‘concentrations’ (eh?). In all I counted 34 (that’s THIRTY FOUR) available options for the humble washing up liquid. I was SO GLAD that I was no longer a little kid sent on an errand by my mother to buy washing up liquid. The chances of buying the ‘right’ one would have been close to zero! No chance.
This got me thinking about other products and the difficult choices we have to make. We live in an age now where there are multiple choices for everything but is it better? Do we really need 34 different options for washing up liquid and a similarly confusing plethora of options for other products? Have you ever been in a restaurant where the menu is so massive that it becomes almost impossible to make a decision about what to have?
Lets get back to the old days where there was less choice and less taxing decisions to make so my message to retailers and restaurateurs is, LESS IS MORE!!