Barry Schwartz, a professor of Social Theory talks about the perils of too many choices in affluent western societies in this TED talk. His focal points are that when people are presented with too many choices, they either
- get confused and procrastinate decision-making
- make a hasty choice and repent for not making the perfect choice
- feel dissatisfied with even the best of choices for not meeting their expectations
Barry is of the opinion that when the buyers don't get their choice right, they repent and brood. This scenario doesn't occur when there are only a few, or even better just one choice (in which case, there's no choice at all). It's true that people are unhappy if their selection turns out to be less than what they had in mind. But isn't that how one sharpens their decision making abilities? If there were only one cellphone available in the market, you wouldn't bother to look into its configurations. Just because there are so many brands with varying degrees of features, the user takes the pain of educating himself about all the features, assesses if he needs them and then makes an informed decision. There's still a chance that he may brood, but at least he learns from the experience, owns up responsibility for his decision and in the process becomes a shrewd decision-maker.
The third point doesn't have much to do with the number of options available rather than the personality we're talking about. If one is not satisfied with, say the top of the line Bose stereo system, may be he should just wait for the field of acoustics to get better or sponsor a sound research institute. A negligible chunk of the demographics will always be unhappy because of their ridiculous expectations. They're only a minuscule and the market hadn't cared for them.
Update: Barry is correct when he says that multiple options lead to a little bit of confusion and/or hesitation. But he clearly blames the market and exaggerates the multitude of choices instead of researching how people can and should decide from the pool of options.