Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Buying Springform Pans and Multimeters

I wish there was a shop that had everything I needed, before I knew I needed it. Where the proprietor had already done the research and picked out the correct products based on my particular constraints and personal cost/benefit tradeoffs.

Alas, such a shop does not exist.

But the problem is, when I have a particular item I need, I feel driven to find ALL options, and evaluate them, and make sure I make the BEST choice possible given a set of optimization constraints.

The engineer in me, I'm sure, contributes to this behavior.

Because if I was a true business person, I would have a "minimum standard" approach instead of an "optimum solution" approach. (Of course not all business people act this way, but in my experience it is much more common.) In a "minimum standard" approach, as you go searching for the product you want, if you find something that is good enough for what you need, at an acceptable price, you stop there and buy it. In the worst case, you spend more than you should have, or you miss out on a much better quality product or features you really should have had. In the "optimization" approach, in the extreme case there is never a decision because you are constantly trying to find something better than the current best - because the current best is only the best one you've found SO FAR.

On that spectrum, I tend to find myself leaning toward the never-ending decision process...

Now the way that self-help books tell you to fix this, is to consider what your time is worth. If you spend hours deciding between $200 and $210 options, then you would have been better off to just choose quickly and spend those hours working for your salary.

This logical approach doesn't work so well when a) you are a grad student so your hourly wage is in the gutter, and b) you enjoy the optimization process itself.

So I recently had to buy two things: a new springform pan, and a multimeter.

I now know WAY, WAY more than I ever thought I would about those two products. Just when I felt overwhelmed with the number of options available for springform pans - do you have ANY IDEA how many multimeters there are out there?? Oh, the possibilities!

The good news is, after an exhaustive search and research process, I have settled on the 9" and 7" size NordicWare Leakproof Springform pans, and the Fluke 87-V meter (the latter from eBay, to mitigate the cost....).

I also had to buy sheets, and don't even get me STARTED on thread count...

The only thing, come to think of it, that I don't have this problem with - is shoes. I am totally a "minimum standard" type of girl in that regard. Thus the huge collection of footwear I own... On second thought, perhaps the overanalysis is good in that it keeps me frugal - ha!