Saturday, December 09, 2006

Are You a Maximiser or a Satisficer?

I think I got those words right...They come from an article I read a while back. It's to do with how you make decisions. Maximisers gather all the information they can, analyse it carefully and try to make the best possible decision. Satisficers collect some information, then make a decision that is "good enough", and are satisfied with that. They don't mind if they didn't buy the best possible house, or get the cheapest possible deal on their new computer, or whatever. Satisficers are happier (though maximisers might not think so). That's because they are not always worrying that they might have got a better deal if they'd looked harder.

I was thinking about it because I've been running around trying to sort out our holiday bookings. We looked at various ads (lots of earlybird specials at the moment for travel to Europe next year), looked at online booking prices and I went to a certain travel agent, who advertises "lowest airfares guaranteed", to see what he would offer.

The lowest airfares guarantee is slightly misleading, because he gives the same price as you get booking with the airline direct, online. And then he charges a $50 service fee each. However, he came up with a good rental car deal which we couldn't match searching online. So we decided to book the airfare and the rental car with the travel agent and pay the fee. (Ignoring all the other things he was trying to sell, like prepaid bed and breakfast, travel insurance - definitely not the best or cheapest, and tours in Singapore where we have a stopover).

The only thing was that the formatting of his e-mail invoice got scrambled in transit, and I failed to notice that there was a 1.5% addition for paying by credit card. So I paid by credit card, for the hotpoints, then realised we had been overcharged (he also accidentally charged for the insurance we didn't want, and refunded it).

When I replied on his e-mail, he realised what a mess the formatting was, and agreed to refund the credit card. So now I have to go in and pay cash. But we could have booked online for the same price, paid by credit card, and got the hotpoints. And I am sick of running around. So, I am trying to remind myself that I'm very happy to be having this trip, and if I've messed up and not got the best possible deal by finding another travel agent who would accept credit cards, too bad.

On the other hand, with my new camera, I was quite content to spot one that I love, at a good price (special birthday deals at my husband's favourite photo store), and just enjoy it, without comparing dozens of cameras and reading heaps of online reviews. I am happy with it! If there's a better one, I don't want to know!

So, in regards to the opening question, I guess I'm a bit of both, depending on circumstances.

14 comments:

scrappintwinmom said...

I'm definitely a Maximiser. And I'm here via Michele.

utenzi said...

Michele sent me over, Catherine.

I'm a Maximiser through and through. That "miser" part is accurate. I try to squeeze every penny. I know that Satisficers are happier but it's not in my nature to just grab what I want without agonizing over the price. Oh well.

Begered said...

I am mostly a Maximizer, but I totally agree that Satisfiers are much happier. Both methods stress me out. Sometimes, I end up not buying the thing in question just to not have to deal with it. Here from Michele's.

craziequeen said...

MB is a maximiser, I'm a satisfier....

Makes for an interesting life.....

cq
Michele sent me to say hi!

Endment said...

Been there- done that :)
I don't think i am either a maximiser or a satisficer I use maximiser techniques on things I think will make a difference a year from now and satisficer techniques on the rest --- so is there another category?

Deb R said...

Like you, I'm a bit of both.

I will exhibit Maximiser behavior as long as I'm just thinking about doing something and mulling over my options. At that point I actually enjoy doing research and comparing choices - sometimes even making up little charts and graphs and things. But once I'm ready to make a decision - whether that's sooner or later - I'll make it with whatever info I have available at the time and never look back.

I'm not just like that with purchases, but also life decisions. I dated J for two years before we got engaged. But once we made the decision to get married we did it as soon as we could arrange a small church wedding - about two months from the time the engagement ring went on my finger until the day the wedding ring joined it.

paris parfait said...

I'm not a maximiser - that's just too time-consuming and who has that kind of time to accomplish just one thing? I'd rather check a few places, make a decision and go with it, rather than waste time worrying over pennies here and there. Because after all, time is more valuable than money. Hope your trip details get sorted and it turns out to be everything you'd hoped and more!

kenju said...

I think I am a bit of both too, Catherine, and it definitely depends on the circumstances. Sometimes just buying and getting it done with as little fuss as possible, is preferable to searching and searching for the best deal!

Michele sent me.

Carmi said...

I tend toward the maximizer end of the scale, but I appreciate your perspective right at the end of your entry: you can indeed be a little bit of both.

In fact, I often wonder why humans are so quick to pigeonhole themselves and others. In reality, we may fall into different categories - or none at all - depending on time of day, day of the week, or position of the moon in its lunar orbit.

Anonymous said...

I am definetly both. It really depends on the situation.

I know that most of the time I drive myself crazy with worry about whether I am making the right decision about what I am doing or buying...yet other times I can make snap decisions and be happy with what I decided.

I guess that's what makes us what we are .

Have a happy Saturday! :)

Michele sent me.

MorahMommy said...

This came up anonymous but it was me!

Michele still sent me! :)

Joe said...

Interesting post. Here from Michele.

Dana said...

Michele did not send me. I came here all on my own.

I think you will have a wonderful trip and you should try really hard to be a satisficer in this situation.

bruce said...

Cool post. Sorry I'm just now getting around to getting back to you. I used to be a better blogger, but I work on a computer 8 to 10 hours a day, so coming home at the end of the day to be on the computer is challenging, but I'm working it out.

In response to your topic, I'm with you, I have various degrees in between and I think I'm more of a maximiser the higher the cost of something! When I was buying a digital camera, I did all of the research and experimented a bit, but things like home supplies, I know it's cheaper at a bigger store, but I buy them at the grocery store anyway, because it will take so much more time to run around to all the various stores to buy things that may only be pennies cheaper! Anyway. Thanks for the comments...

By the way, what kind of camera did you get?