I came across Coca-Cola Freestyle today, a nifty machine that can make you about 100 different variants of drinks from the Coke stable. One of the reasons that I liked being vegetarian (I eat some seafood and white fish now!) was that the restrictions on what I could eat made it easier to choose what I wanted to eat in a restaurant. The Coca-Cola Freestyle scares me. It probably scares Scouse even more, because he'd have to wait 8 hours while I tried to make a decision on what to drink (actually this would take no time at all, because I don't drink fizzy drinks, but if it was a Dolly's Ice Tea Freestyle machine...).
I've been thinking for a long time that choice is a false benefit. Or I should specify, too much choice. Having a pillow menu that offers you soft and orthopaedic is different to a two-page beast, something which is probably essential for 7-star classification. I would rather trust the hotel to have the best pillow, and if I wasn't happy with it, that they would change it to whatever I want. At El Bulli, you don't get to choose what you eat and people pay hundreds of Euros for the privilege. I realise that is a very niche example, but maybe this is a proposition for the luxe wedge of the market. If you are buying expertise - can this be applied across the board? - then surely you are paying someone else to make the decision for you.
I'm not suggesting a world where we entrust everything over to brands - oh, hang on, we're already there ;) - but just that having choice is sometimes a deceptive benefit. It's already a given that people will prefer one thing served crackingly well than a host of poorly served things. Anyway, thoughts in progress.