I Think

Shopping algorithm

Some of the most profound thoughts have come to me at moments of great distress. One such thought i had yesterday was "People are like jeans, they are all different yet the same". Ok, that wasn't so profound when put into writing. Anyway, it came about during an aborted attempt at shopping yesterday.

Having hibernated through the fashion revolution that swept our country during the previous and the current decade, I am finding it difficult to adjust to the current trends now that i have awaken. A hundred varieties of jeans have spawned in the malls and each seems to be different and yet the same. I don't know what algorithm is used by the modern youth in picking out a shade of blue from the lot and i am unsure if there is one.

I usually avoid buying clothes. No I don't run naked, I have enough shirts and trousers(except recently, the atoms that have so far held together my trousers have decided to move on to better things, thereby prompting me to visit the mall), and even when I have to, I don't spend a lot of time selecting shirts and trousers. I have reasoned that instead of spending my precious time searching for the perfect shirt through the million aisles, I could be spending quality time, at home, with my family of videogames. If you are wondering what my cloth selection algorithm is, here it is.

1. Go to the nearest mall.
2. Stand before a shelf of shirts of my size and randomly pick 3 shirts/tees.
3. Use inky-pinky-ponkey and narrow it down to one.
4. Ask the cloth store person what colour of trousers match the shirt chosen.
5. Use the algorithm similar to the one used for shirts, only this time pick the 3 trousers based on the colour suggested by the store helper. 

There is this question of why 3 random shirts and not 2 or 4 or directly 1 random pick. A random selection of 1 shirt denies the illusion of choice, while 2 shirts does offer the choice, it still appears constrained. Further experiments in this direction have shown that increasing the number of choices has a corresponding increase in the sense of being overwhelmed with choices. After rigorous analysis, i have picked 3 as the optimum number of choices, that neither leaves me constrained nor overwhelmed.

Although this appears to be a foolproof algorithm, there are some documented cases where the method has failed. I will go through a couple of them just so you don't get struck in case you come to use my algorithm. For example, there is this case when the shirts turn out to be ramajaran coloured ones. The ideal solution for this would be to burn the shirts and prevent road side pasumaadu from losing their eyesight, but the practical thing to do is to quietly move the ramarajan shirts to a different aisle and repeat the method. There are also times when I am confused whether the final ponkey should point to one selection or if pon-key is for 2 choices. In such cases, I pick the last and the penultimate choices, toss a coin and pick a shirt. Ok, that explains why my wardrobe is crappy.

Anyway, this algorithm seems to break down when i try to apply it to jeans. Because of the similarity between different pairs of jeans, any 3 random picks, are hardly random and they sort of nullifying the illusion of choice. Yet at the same time, i am aware that they are fundamentally different. It is some kind of a mental block where i cannot pick a pair of jeans without feeling like a fool constrained by the whims of mindless trend setters, despite the knowledge that our tastes and choices are at most times defined by others.

So if you have a good and simple algorithm to pick jeans, please tell me.

Posted via email from Just some random stuff


One thought on “Shopping algorithm

  1. Vidya says:

    LOL! Nice one. Though no special selection algorithms to suggest, why not try ‘Dip, Dip, Dip. My Blue Ship’ instead and still go for the lowest price tag?

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