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Mivo
02-23-2016, 04:30 AM
I mentioned this article in another thread, but while reading it again, I kept thinking how perfectly it explains what I go through whenever UAS strikes. This article appeared in a 2004 issue of Scientific American, and was written by Barry Schwartz:

The Tyranny of Choice (http://www.swarthmore.edu/SocSci/bschwar1/Sci.Amer.pdf)

The article includes a "test" to determine where one is on the Maximization Scale:


Whenever I’m faced with a choice, I try to imagine what all the other possibilities are, even ones that aren’t present at the moment.
No matter how satisfied I am with my job, it’s only right for me to be on the lookout for better opportunities.
When I am in the car listening to the radio, I often check other stations to see if something better is playing, even if I am relatively satisfied with what I’m listening to.
When I watch TV, I channel surf, often scanning through the available options even while attempting to watch one program.
I treat relationships like clothing: I expect to try a lot on before finding the perfect fit.
I often find it difficult to shop for a gift for a friend.
Renting videos is really difficult. I’m always struggling to pick the best one.
When shopping, I have a hard time finding clothing that I really love.
I’m a big fan of lists that attempt to rank things (the best movies, the best singers, the best athletes, the best novels, etc.).
I find that writing is very difficult, even if it’s just writing a letter to a friend, because it’s so hard to word things just right. I often do several drafts of even simple things.
No matter what I do, I have the highest standards for myself.
I never settle for second best.
I often fantasize about living in ways that are quite different from my actual life

According to this list and my answers, I'm not actually a maximizer (some also don't apply, e.g. I don't watch TV), but I believe my UAS is definitely driven by trying to optimize, if not maximize, my purchase decisions, to get it "right", and I never seem (for long) to "settle" -- there's indeed always the nagging thought if something else might not be a better (for me), help with learning, and especially: improve the experience. (Short-sighted, I realize that, as experience is improved by improvement, which comes from practice and steadiness.)

In part, it is a financial consideration, but maybe that is just an excuse I'm making to myself. I don't swim in money, so I can't buy $1000 ukuleles frequently, so when I do buy one, I fret over whether it's a good choice (among the large sea of choices that gets bigger every year) -- or no, actually, I fret over whether it's the "best" choice (for me and in general).

Usually, after a while, I end up making an "emotional" decision, driven by a surge of adventurousness, impatience, or the desire to stop going in circles. That then brings relief -- until a few months later the question if something else might not be a better fit surfaces again, particularly when funds are available at the time and no other interests compete for them in an equally strong manner.

What about you?

jollyboy
02-23-2016, 04:44 AM
I like vfm, value-for-money - that is I like to believe that, when making a significant purchase, I am getting something that is of decent quality relative to its price point. Although I dislike the stereotype of the curmudgeonly middle-aged man I have a feeling that this may be something to do with my age and a perception that there is a lot of poorly-made-but-expensive junk about these days ;)

Mivo
02-23-2016, 05:00 AM
I think, if I'm uncomfortably honest with myself, I'm at least also looking for the "thrill" that comes with buying something new. But not just anything, which brings this back to the desire of wanting to "optimize" the purchase, if not maximize it, but I definitely compensate for "something", for some kind of perceived emotional lack, by buying new things -- and then usually regret that I did, not necessarily because I'm unhappy with the "thing" itself, but that I bought something when I would much rather have fewer than more "things" cluttering up my life.

This was more pronounced when I was younger (before I started to embrace simplicity more), but it still plays a role in my purchase behavior: New ukuleles add a sense of adventure and positive excitement to my life, give me something to look forward to, to rave and think about. Like a trip to some exotic place -- the type of trip I'm not making for a variety of reasons, so I compensate. That actually is also what the ukulele experience is for me to a large degree: a journey, an adventure.

I think that is called "retail therapy". :) Though to be fair to myself, I don't really buy many ukuleles. I think about buying many ukuleles, and go in circles, and then sometimes do make a purchase, but the "exhaustion" and "unhappiness" (too strong a word) comes more from the thinking about it and trying to make a decision and iterate over and over the pros and cons, weighing the different aspects and somehow "wanting it all", which isn't really possible, but not so much from making the decision. The article referred to stress or tension (I'd probably use the term: emotional fatigue) caused by wanting to avoid future regret, and I think that definitely applies to me.

greenie44
02-23-2016, 06:22 AM
One thing I recognized when I was in a different field of the arts was that buying equipment took up the same energy that using that equipment did. In other words, it was an avoidance mechanism.

I'm older now (a lot older) and I don't think this is so true for me any more. In fact, probably the opposite - once I get a new uke, I intentionally don't try something else while the love of my new instrument is still strong. Having said this, I also think once I got a really good uke (OK, 2 of them), it was pretty hard for me to justify getting another really good uke. I think if I was still buying lower cost ukes, my UAS would be worse - as it stands now, it's hard for me to justify getting a good uke (or better uke) since I have some fantastic ones.

But AS is AS. About 5 years ago, I intentionally struck the word "need" from my vocabulary with regard to Hawaiian shirts. I still say I "want" one, which exposes the desire for what it is, and allows me to treat it accordingly. Needless to say, Hawaiian shirts (especially at the swap meet) are way less expensive than ukes.

acmespaceship
02-23-2016, 10:11 AM
I have a good uke that works well for me. I am entirely content about that. Until I start thinking, wouldn't it be nice to get a better uke? Then all the overwhelming choices come flooding into my awareness, and I want to buy this... then that... or that over there. I am definitely a Maximizer. I could easily buy a dozen ukes, right now, convinced that I need them. That is out of the question, financially, so I must weed down my selection to just one. But making that decision is stressful. How do I know which uke is perfect, given that I can't play them all in person? If I buy one, that will do me no good at all because I'll still be wondering about the others.

My coping mechanism is to give up, settle back down with my trusty Fluke, and ignore all the other ukuleles. When there are too many options, there is no option. Paralysis has its benefits. The tyranny of choice is actually working in my favor.

Lest I come across as too zen to be real, it took me a while to learn this. I suffered with Acquisition Syndrome in several disciplines (dulcimers, camera equipment, computers, clothes, yarn, boyfriends...) Not gonna go there with ukuleles. Although I sure did like that Blackbird Clara I played last year... could it be The One?

Teek
02-23-2016, 11:00 AM
Combination of acquisition, retail therapy (feeling trapped in RL by work and controlling people), and looking for the right dance partner. I agree that when I finally found a few really awesome (to me) instruments, mostly I just need to grab one and then I go "ahhhhh, that's nice" and that's the cure. If I was rich I'd love to have a music and entertainment room, and would surely have more, but the only one I truly need is the one I'm happily playing in the moment. I would guess I could get down to one tenor strung re-entrant, one bari in linear, and if I could keep a couple more, my solid body electric and my Maui Music six string for the difference in sound.

janeray1940
02-23-2016, 11:54 AM
According to this list and my answers, I'm not actually a maximizer (some also don't apply, e.g. I don't watch TV), but I believe my UAS is definitely driven by trying to optimize, if not maximize, my purchase decisions, to get it "right", and I never seem (for long) to "settle" -- there's indeed always the nagging thought if something else might not be a better (for me), help with learning, and especially: improve the experience. (Short-sighted, I realize that, as experience is improved by improvement, which comes from practice and steadiness.)

In part, it is a financial consideration, but maybe that is just an excuse I'm making to myself. I don't swim in money, so I can't buy $1000 ukuleles frequently, so when I do buy one, I fret over whether it's a good choice (among the large sea of choices that gets bigger every year) -- or no, actually, I fret over whether it's the "best" choice (for me and in general).


Interesting assessment - according to that list, I'm a satisficer (my score was 2.38!) but like you, many don't apply. I've never owned a TV and can't remember the last time I relied on a radio station for music! But I don't ever feel like I'm "satisficing" or otherwise settling for less - whenever possible, I prefer to go without if I can't have what I really want.

I'm not swimming in money either, and never have been. Still, even as a kid it was drilled into my consciousness that it's better to have *one* good whatever than many *lesser* whatevers - one nice pair of shoes rather than a dozen pairs from K-mart is a childhood example from my mother that I really vividly remember. And I think I've grown up carrying this philosophy over into all of my buying decisions, from the neighborhood I rent in, to basic needs like food and clothing, and, yes, to my ukulele purchases.

DownUpDave
02-23-2016, 01:12 PM
Very good answers........all of them. I really don't know what to think about all of this. Great food for thought but if I over analyse my love of ukelele I will loose the joy I have found in them and my head will explode. I have been in a long buying mode because of my curious nature, I like to see how things work. It has been great fun but now I feel I am coming into a selling mood..........just because.

SoloRule
02-23-2016, 03:26 PM
Very good answers........all of them. I really don't know what to think about all of this. Great food for thought but if I over analyse my love of ukelele I will loose the joy I have found in them and my head will explode. I have been in a long buying mode because of my curious nature, I like to see how things work. It has been great fun but now I feel I am coming into a selling mood..........just because.


Did I see the word 'selling mood'?

Rakelele
02-23-2016, 08:31 PM
There's nothing wrong with contemplating, thinking things over, and weighing options, especially if it concerns expensive items that are more of a luxury to own than a necessity. I would refrain from impulse buying, and instead plan your purchases wisely, do as much research as you can, and in the meantime, try to figure out what you really want. Instead of spending the money on lesser things, I would rather wait and save up for something that really fits the bill, even if that means waiting for a couple of years. In most of our Westerners' lives, there are a couple of bucks to be saved daily, or more by abstaining from other luxuries.

Peace Train
02-23-2016, 09:47 PM
I suffered with Acquisition Syndrome in several disciplines (dulcimers, camera equipment, computers, clothes, yarn, boyfriends...) Not gonna go there with ukuleles.

Due to the absence of retail showrooms for so many consumer goods in today's online global market, I've come to realize I do what's called Serial Acquisition Syndrome (SAS). Instead of buying multiples of a particular item, the acquisition stops at just one (or two) before moving on to the next thing. I've ultimately joined a number of ever-enabling forums as part of that illusory search for what's "best"...and also what's "best for me."

I've done it with stereo components, bicycles, skiing equipment, sewing machine, skateboard, djembe, camera...even flashlight. There's something about the exhaustive research before finally buying the product that ends it for me.

One thing I'd love to learn is how to sell--where the hardest part is accepting a loss--as part of the journey. Otherwise, I'd probably be joining in on the ever-elusive quest for the grail. I mean, I still have my square television set purchased the year before they went widescreen. Because it's not worth anything now, and I spent more back then for what a decent television is going for these days.

Croaky Keith
02-23-2016, 10:25 PM
I often buy at the bottom & work my way up as funds allow, never sell anything because I would lose more than I feel it is worth to me.

So with my ukes, I tried different sizes/scales first, & now I'm buying what I think I need - I may be wrong, but only time will tell. :)

Cost so far is less than some people spend on a weekend away, so I don't mind, this is my way to enjoy myself, & that is all that matters. :D

WCBarnes
02-24-2016, 02:08 AM
It has been great fun but now I feel I am coming into a selling mood.

I have that same feeling as well. I recently got a couple nice customs and don't find myself playing my others at all (for various reasons). I think my selling phase may be upon me. (Now to get off my butt and list them!)

Croaky Keith
02-24-2016, 02:21 AM
My last uke purchase arrived this morning, so it's no more ukes for me................:music:

Rllink
02-24-2016, 02:39 AM
I hate for people to put a label on me, and stick me in a box. I'm sure not going to take a test, so that I can put a label on myself, to find which box I belong in. Just saying.

AndrewKuker
02-24-2016, 03:09 AM
Well, I'm not really like that with ukes 'cause I pretty much know the market and understand quality and value and what is being offered. But I totally feel you Mivo 'cause I do this with audio equipment really bad. There's all these custom mic and mic preamp builders and I don't fully know beyond reading gear slutz forum and reviews and buying and trying. As a result I have a dozen I rarely use and others sold or given to friends. I've been using the same ones for the past few years, but I still feel like there's cleaner, truer recording gear to find. I read up on all this stuff and want it. Same with camera gear. Reading about things I... could maybe afford. I guess it's exciting, and a little stressful. When I pull the trigger on equipment I usually love it at least for certain applications. But it's a leap of faith for something I don't need. Or maybe I just don't know I need it?! Ya know, for happiness or something....:rolleyes:

Ukejenny
02-24-2016, 04:06 AM
I've been down the rabbit hole, but I've never had the kind of disposable income to get too addicted to anything. Right now, I have to keep certain instruments in top playing order. It is about maintenance and upkeep. I have a wonderful ukulele that plays like a dream, so I am not looking to make any purchases based on that emotional wanting feeling. That feeling doesn't actually satisfy anything for me. It only leads to the next thing. What is satisfying is playing these instruments and loving them. The instrument that would be easiest to fall down that rabbit hole with would be clarinet. I see something wonderful and my spine can tingle like a tuning fork. But, I resist.