Avoiding choice points

If you study the messaging of large US companies towards their customers it soon becomes apparent that one strategy they adopt is to avoid presenting the consumer with choice points. This is because they know that it is at choice points that they lose customers.

For example; Google Adwords does not tell its customers that their account balance is empty and they need to top-up; they tell their users that “funds are depleted and Ads not running” (or words to that effect). It is a subtle point. But one possible interpretation of this and similar messaging is that the aim of this kind of messaging is to avoid giving the customer a chance to think “do I really want to continue with Google (or Amazon – or whoever it is) – perhaps I should try something different”. So; the messaging (it appears) subtly avoids reminding the user that they have a choice. They want to make it seem as obvious that you will continue with their service.

Despite all the talk about ‘consumer choice’ – which is supposed to be linked to ‘freedom’ in reality the the large companies do everything they can to create dependency and addiction to their services – spitting in the face of ‘choice’.

(And the same of course with ‘democracy’ but that is another story).

Therapy – which is itself an invention of American consumerism – practices this tactic to the hilt. They know that people generally make choices based on a negative perception. You drop a friend for the same reason that you drop a supplier; because they have done something or said something to you which grates. People rarely simply ‘up and leave’ a relationship of any kind. When people do leave it is in response to a negative stimulus. By avoiding as much as possible every saying or doing anything, by never, if they can help it, revealing anything about their own personalities, therapists are practising this game of ‘avoiding presenting the consumer with choice points’. The same game that Amazon and Google play…


Author: justinwyllie

EFL Teacher and Photographer