For most objects in the world, you go to the store and buy them. Sometimes they'll be a couple different options (do you want the super cheap one, the normal one, or the super-great expensive one?) but usually the standard is the standard. There's really one one iPhone, there's only one box of Captain Crunch, and there's only case of Pepsi. Yes, there are two different types of sports drink (Gatorade/Powerade) and yes, the Sunoco and Get-Go both fight for your attention, but it's really all the same. You could shop around if you're really bored, but most people have better things to do.
There are a few exceptions. The first is houses: you're either building one from scratch, or you're buying someone else's old place. You can't choose where the house is, and you can't choose what it looks like...you just have to see what's out there and take the best of what you can. Price isn't even constant either. It's a terrible process, but you usually only have to make it once or twice in your life if you choose to buy. Cars are another of these annoying purchases. Unless you've got lots of extra cash on hand (more power to you), or think buying a new vehicle is smart (nope), you don't have the option to go to the car store, point to a car, and say "one car please". Nope, instead, you need to go from place to place to place seeing what's available. What's the best combination of miles, size, colors, age, and other intangibles? There's no guarantee you'll even find something you like...and no guarantee something that fits your criteria will ever show up. You can research things online, shop around, and scour carfax.com but at this point, there's few lemons still out there. It's a game of luck, unless, I said, you're rich or careless.
Thankfully, we were able to find something that fits most of our standards...and then began the waiting game. As a kid, I remember sitting in the waiting area of car dealerships several times as my parents took HOURS to sign papers. It was super boring and I remember thinking we would never be able to leave. I eventually was old enough to acquire a GameBoy which helped the waiting process a bit, but it still seemed excessive. When I got finally grew up, I looked back and figured I had probably just been impatient. Perhaps I was only in the dealership for 20 minutes but it felt like forever since I was only six. I can say with 100% certainty....it still takes forever. After arriving at the dealership, speaking with a salesman, choosing and test driving a car all in 20 minutes...we sat around for the next two hours signing papers, waiting, and listening to sales pitches on extra insurance. We were there so long that I ordered Chinese food in the middle of the process and ate the whole thing (yes, that's a true story). While we finally were able to drive away one car richer and one big check poorer, I was amazed that after all this time, the process is still so clunky. After twenty-six years of being alive, buying a vehicle is still either a shot in the dark, or a selection of whatever scraps remain (unless of course you're rich or obsessive about buying things that fall apart). Buying a car still requires hours or waiting, reams of paper, and those little plastic envelopes that hold all the important papers you get from a deal. Even if I were to have walked into the dealership with $100K in my hand and knew exactly what car I wanted, it would still have taken half the day.
What's the lesson here? Most of the time its easy to think "how much can/will life really change in the future?" or "what difference can I make?" The answer: Everything. Fix everything. It's 2014 and it still takes the entire day to locate and purchase an object you want to buy...we still have a long way to go. (Disclaimer: there are other problems in the world too...but we'll focus on those another time).