Thursday, September 18, 2008

Does choice equal relevance?

Does more choice bring more relevance?  It might seem so since what is relevant to me might not be so to you.  Still Tim Manners, the author of Relevance: Making Stuff That Matters doesn't seem to think that's always the case.  He points out that Stew Leonard’s, a grocer in Connecticut and New York, has found a niche by eleminating choice.  
One of the many things that makes Stew Leonard’s so innovative is that it only carries something like 800 items, compared to tens of thousands at the typical supermarket. They took the time to figure out which products were most relevant to their shoppers and got rid of everything else. As a result, their profits per square foot completely eclipse those of traditional supermarkets.  "Elements of Relevance" in the Sept/Oct edition of the online magizine The Hub
I can understand that. Last week I was in the local Acme and found myself stairing at walls and walls of product.  So many choices that, even though I could have used a few items, I was so overwhelmed that I shot in, grabbed the two things I needed and left.  Even picking out the two items was difficult because of the choices.  Good thing the tag "sale items" because I bought those.

It seems to me that church try to be relevant to more and more people by offering more and more choices?  So here's my question, is that making us more relevant or just busier? Does it improve community or just flood us with community choices?  If it is making things too busy, how do we go about limitting or cutting the overstock?