Narrator: Okay, so imagine yourself at the grocery store. You’re hungry but you don’t really feel like cooking. I guess pasta’s pretty easy. Suddenly you’re faced with this. That’s so many choices. Do you go for the classic tomato basil? How ’bout creamy alfredo? But what exactly is the difference between these two or these three? Wait. Why is this so hard?
Trader Joe’s is the surfy, laid back grocery chain know for it’s cheap prices and floral print clad staff. Data science professionals have ranked it number one in customer preference for two years running. The brand has held off on going high tech. They keep it simple with no online store, no loyalty programs, and no sales. When you break it down to square footage, Trader Joe’s is actually selling more than double its competitors like Whole Foods. But how much money you spend at Trade Joe’s ultimately comes down to what you are choosing to buy. But what about Trader Joe’s makes it so easy to choose?
Barry Schwartz: I spent, I’ve spent the last 25 years studying how people make decisions.
Narrator: That’s Barry Schwartz, a psychologist, a professor, and a Trader Joe’s enthusiast himself.
Schwartz: I think Trader Joe’s is the best example of how the world should be constructed.
Narrator: Whoa, take it easy there Barry. Barry coined the term the paradox of choice and quite literally wrote the book on it and it basically describes how you would think that the more–
Schwartz: Choice we have, the better off we are. That turns out empirically not to be true. When you give people too many options, they get paralyzed instead of liberated.