It Gets Even Awesomer

Posted on January 10, 2008 by Melissa 
Filed Under Psychology, Shopping

Yesterday I was forwarded a video I’ve seen a before and loved. I crack up every time I watch it. Watch the SNL short “Taco Town” below.

(If you are reading the RSS feed, click through to the site to watch the video so the rest of the post makes sense.)

Isn’t that great? “The new pizza-crepe-taco-pancake-chili bag at Taco Town”! I think this came out when Taco Bell started wrapping tacos with multiple layers in order to make them “exciting”. Personally, I like good old fashioned tacos. Sometimes less is definitely more.

This skit reminded me of how we often equate “more” with “better”. Sometimes it’s true, like when I’m getting a bottle of ketchup that has 50% more as a bonus. More miles per gallon, more life per bulb, more …. In these examples more is definitely better for my money.

But sometimes “more” means “complex” and complexity doesn’t always equal better, as you can see with our Taco Town example. This happens a lot with electronics. The item with more options and buttons and functions must be the superior product, right? We get the complicated one thinking it might be more useful than the basic one but then don’t end up using much of the enhanced functionality it has to offer. Having the extras are nice, but seems like such a waste in the end.

Take my dishwasher for instance (I didn’t choose this dishwasher specifically, it came with the house). It has so many options that I’m a little overwhelmed by it. I always end up using the simple “normal wash” cycle. The foreman even had trouble figuring out the thing so we had to break out the manual to test it during the house walk-through. After reading the manual I learned that the dishwasher somehow senses how dirty my plates are and adjusts the wash time to optimize cleaning. I have no idea how it does that but I’m sure my dishes would get just as clean without that fancy “sensing” mode.

Do I really need 20 different washing cycles and 10 additional options on my washer to get my clothes clean? I’ve only used 5 different cycles and 2 extra option choices on the 30 loads I’ve done so far. And the extra cycles were tried out to experiment. I tend to find a few cycles that work well and stick with them. Don’t get me wrong, I love my washer but I’d probably love it just as much even if it didn’t have so many options.

It’s strange, but I feel a little guilty when I don’t use all the complicated features. It’s like I’m not using the machine to its full potential and the extras are wasting away. I know that I’m using the machine for what *I* bought it for but it still bothers me a little to know I paid for features I’ll never use.

Perhaps, when shopping for a product, we should think about what would accomplish the task at hand instead of getting dazzled by the extra cool features we aren’t likely to use very often. Gosh, I know that’s hard to do with all the temptations out there. Do I need complexity or simplicity to get the job done? Do I need my taco to have “15 great flavors” to satisfy my hunger?


5 Responses to “It Gets Even Awesomer”

  1. Coupon Fetcher on January 10th, 2008 6:21 pm

    Very Funny! I’d eat it right up until they dip it in the blueberry batter! The way you are with your dishwasher is how I am with my digital camera. I just take pictures with it on auto focus, but it ahs 1000 other features I will never use.

  2. Brooke (Dollar Frugal) on January 10th, 2008 8:01 pm

    I think it’s great you don’t use all the features…it just means you know exactly what you want!

    Hey if even the foreman needed a manual…I think you’re okay!

  3. The Friday Gathering for 1/11/2008 | Gather Little by Little on January 11th, 2008 5:18 pm

    […] A Penny Closer – It Gets Even Awesomer […]

  4. Frugal For Life » Blog Archive » Festival of Frugality Week 108: Quotable Edition on January 15th, 2008 7:39 am

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  5. Kim Da Cook(new comment) on December 1st, 2009 1:01 am

    Hey guys
    Can you believe it, its the 1st December 2009, only a few more days until Christmas and the new year , boy has this year just gone by, Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Looking forward to seeing some new posts next year.


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