You have the option of not standing in line

When I was walking by the Apple Store in Emeryville on the Saturday after the iPhone 3G release, I saw a line about 100 deep. Everyone in the line seemed happy “just to be there”. It was surprising to me because, iPhone 3G is not that big a change from the version released an year ago and it was the day after the release.

The people who were standing most probably wanted to and liked standing in line. Quite possibly they stood in line for every Apple product release including Leopard. These are the people who “want to be inspired”. After years of experiencing average products, these people are carried away by Apple’s design and simplicity. Despite the fact that neither the iPhone 3G nor an Operating system will ever be in short supply, they choose to stand in line.

The problem with wanting to be inspired is that one has to give up the economic decision making or worse, rationalize their actions. A colleague  of mine who had bought the original iPhone before the prices dropped, declared, ” I am not at all unhappy the prices dropped, I would not mind if they had not announced the $100 store credit, because I got to use my pone for 3 months and it was totally worth it”. Again there is a choice and if indeed a person want to put an economic value of overpaying for the pride and pleasure of using it before most, then they can. In the case of this specific individual, it is a case of managing cognitive dissonance – the person is aligning their mind to the new reality. They are saying to themselves, ” I did not overpay, I was not suckered into doing anything I did not want to, I did that on my own will because I loved the product so much and got to use it for 3 months that was worth paying $100″.

On related note, there is another class of people who have been waiting to be inspired and they found their inspiration in Obama. The problem with choosing based on inspiration and not on economical decision making process is that we choose to ignore flaws, however big and choose to be downward counterfactual. We take it to the extreme and start attacking anyone who raises a counter-point.

At the end of the day, choosing a product or president is just that, a choice. You can’t blame others for “making you stand in line”.