Is There a Perfect Green?

<img src="/files/images/need-glass_0.jpg" border="0" alt="Alesina Design" width="207" height="270" />Image: Alesina DesignHow much is enough? How much is too much? How do you figure out whether something is what you need or just something you want? Should you switch out your incandesent light bulbs for compact fluorescent bulbs now, or should you wait for a better option that doesn't contain mercury? <br /><br />CBC Radio producer Richard Handler wrote a very engaging article a couple of months ago that took a look at the idea of perfection (<a href="">&quot;Facing up to imperfection&quot;</a>). He starts with men's razors (are five blades really necessary for shaving?) and ends up at the philosophy of <a href="">Jacques Derrida</a> in a one page essay. He cites Barry Schwartz, author of <em><a href=";;tag=greeopti-20&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325">The Paradox of Choice</a><img src=";l=ur2&amp;o=1" border="0" width="1" height="1" /></em>, about how we make some of these decisions:<br /><br /><blockquote>Schwartz recounts how he used to walk into a Gap and spend a couple of minutes buying an ill-fitting pair of jeans. Now he spends an hour or so trying on all the different kinds. The jeans he purchases fit much better, but he feels much worse about the entire experience.<br /><br />So, yes, choice is good — but up to a point.<br /><br />Schwartz divides consumers into two categories: Maximizers and satisficers.<br /><br />Maximizers want to make the right decision, every time. They want the best, most perfect pair of jeans offered. They drive themselves crazy.<br /><br />Who hasn't felt these fits of indecision when faced with 25 varieties of off-white paint or 100 different styles of kitchen tile?<br /><br />But satisficers buy merely what is &quot;good enough.&quot; What that means, for each person, well, that's the problem. But the take-home message is this: The perfect pair of jeans (or job or plasma TV) doesn't necessarily lead to the perfect life.</blockquote><p></p>

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