The Pants of Choice – Part 1

Needlessly relentless, this girl I don’t know brings me pants I don’t own in a place I don’t particularly like. Presumably, she wants me to purchase them, but  I can’t be too sure.  I try them on, dislike them and try to sneak out of the store before being accosted by another retail demon. Me and my girlfriend just decided to go to the mall for new pants, but I’ve only remembered why I don’t do this. These commission chasers only serve as one-third, at most, of the problem. The primary predicament in the the process arose earlier when I chose to go shopping today.

“Where do I buy pants?” turns into “What kind of pants do I want?” into “What am I willing to spend?” into “What other sizes do you have these in?” into “I look scene.”  In this mall, there are approximately 29 stores where I’ll consider purchasing pants; in each store, I’ll consider at least 3 different styles; in each style, I’ll consider 2 different sizes. The simple math has me trying on 6,000 pairs of pants today.

I don’t think I’m (boot)cut out for this. I don’t (modern)fit into the consumer culture littered with the hatchet of happiness: choice. This might seem paradoxical, with this question soon following “How can freedom (to choose) impair (my capacity for) pleasure?”  The first person to address this was Barry Scwartz, with his book The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less. His thesis rests on this claim: “The culture of abundance robs us of satisfaction.” Dissatifaction derives from “choice overload.” All these pants on the racks and shelves demand that I stand in the store doing the ‘Thinker’, contemplating all my choices–“I like the grey ones, but they don’t fit”;” I really wish these didn’t have a ‘fashionable’ hole in them”; “$80!?”; “No, I’m not going to ‘just try on these jean shorts’ for you!”

And this is why I decided to purchase the last pair I tried on. You probably will too.

Next, for ‘Part 2’: TPoC illustrated in Music (Why there will NEVER be another Beatles)