Saturday, 1 June 2013

How to Choose a Movie or Find a Hotel

You and your beloved are struggling to decide from a number of options which restaurant to eat in on Friday night or what the Saturday night DVD is going to be.  Here's my neat little trick to help in the decision process.  Actually, I can't claim it entirely as my own - I have borrowed from one or two social experimenters (in particular, Herbert Simon) and tweaked them into what I think is an improved solution. 

The first I've called '4231 option shaving', which is most useful when you are choosing between numerous options with easy accessibility. Here's what you and your beloved should do when you can't decide on a number of options for, say, a restaurant or movie.  One of you picks 4 options, the other shaves off one option, leaving 3; then the first person shaves off another option, leaving 2; and the other then picks 1 of the 2 remaining options. Next time the other person goes first. With this method you'll find expedience, but also a compromise that is inclusive of the wants of both you and your beloved. 
The second involves deciding on what I've called 'primary criteria', which is a most useful when you are choosing between options with more difficult accessibility, like, say, which hotel to stay in on a trip around the peak district.  Ideally you always want to choose the optimum hotel, but naturally this is difficult as you don't have enough information to know which is the best, and you don't want to waste too much time travelling to find out or too much time browsing on the internet. So the best thing to do is decide on your primary criteria - "Under £60", "Serves breakfast", "Nice view of the peaks", perhaps - and choose the first place that matches those criteria.

Hopefully, that should make things easier.  Do try it yourselves - I think you'll be pleasantly surprised how good it is - and you may even have a few laughs too. If this advice does ending up saving any marriages or relationships, do let me know. :-)

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