May 24, 2007

Choices Choices Choices

Well, I've bought a new car. Why don't I sound thrilled? You see, I have a bit of a maverick image, and buying the most common and popular car doesn't quite go with it. A Santro is too commonplace.

Anyway, as i didnt originally want a Santro, i set about selecting a car. What bothered me in this whole process of car selection, was the mind-boggling choices. In the glorious days not so long ago, the only car i could have bought was the Maruti 800. The only decision to be made was - could I afford the one with an AC? Even color choices were limited. 'Loan' was a bad word. And if some low-life wanted to buy a car he couldn't afford with his savings, he'd have to go to his PSU bank branch, and face as arduous a task as performing an elaborate Hindu religious ceremony.

Cut to 2007. There are at least 4 serious small car manufacturers. Most of them have multiple models (If you want to buy good-ol' Maruti, they offer you the 800, Zen, Wagon R and Swift - and this is only in the small-car segment!) Each model has several variants. You have to decide whether you want body-colored bumpers? Do you really need an under-seat ash-tray and suchlike. Then you receive SMS offers from multiple dealers. Each has tie-ups with at least 3 banks that offer you various loan rates and deals. At the end of weeks I still have to decide between Sony, JBL, Pioneer and Blaupunkt speakers for my car audio system. I still have to decide whether spending another 4.5k for Tubless tyres, and 3k for leather seat covers, are prudent decisions.

One can argue that having so much choice is a good thing, but I'm not too sure. I mean - if I install the 245-watt Blaupunkt rather than the 260-watt Sony, will it change my life significantly? Will i even notice a difference at all? The problem is not having choices. The problem is - there are no clearly 'good' or 'bad' choices. Everything has its pros-and-cons and it all evens out in the long run. And a huge amount of time and energy is wasted evaluating the pluses-and-minus of all the choices available. Life was so much easier a decade back...

(Psst - by the way, I chose a 'Deep pearl blue' Santro XO, and am planning to buy Blaupunkt speakers. Do u think its the right choice? And leather seat covers? Tubless tyres?)

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