Editor's Note (The View From Here)

Analysis Paralysis

I am involved in the unenviable process of shopping for a new mattress. I last bought one in 2003, which means my current bed has outlasted its recommended seven- to 10-year lifespan. A lot has changed in mattresses in the past 15 years, including the variety and combination of materials available, the advent of adjustable (and massaging) bases, the ability to shop and order online and, of course, prices. Fifteen years ago, I spent about $300 for a mattress and box springs, delivery, and removal of the old set. Today I’m looking at a bare minimum of $800 and could easily spend several thousand dollars to replace my existing set.

I’m stuck in what’s called “analysis paralysis.” A purchasing decision needs to be made, but there are so many options offered—as well as opinions on both products and vendors—that I am overthinking the purchase and fear making the wrong choice. After all, I’m going to live with the results for at least the next decade. I don’t want to be less than 100 percent satisfied.

I imagine there are times when making purchasing decisions for a college or university—whether it is flooring for residence halls, projectors for a classroom building, lawncare equipment for the campus landscape, a roof for the library, or a new student center—also results in some degree of analysis paralysis. Sorting through the available options, deciding how much you want to spend and need to spend (conceivably two different amounts), evaluating and selecting vendors, all while realizing that you and your stakeholders, board, faculty, staff, and students will need to live with the results for the foreseeable future, must be daunting.

With this in mind, this issue of CP&M includes our annual Facilities Sourcebook, which is designed to serve as a year-round reference guide to services and products for the education market. The businesses that are featured in this special section are advertisers that regularly support this publication. They also support what you do; creating, furnishing, securing, and maintaining the facilities within which students learn. Without them, we would not exist. You are invited to take that into consideration when you make future decisions about purchasing materials and services. Hopefully their presence in CP&M will help with any analysis paralysis you may be experiencing in your goal to provide the best for campus.

This article originally appeared in the July/August 2018 issue of College Planning & Management.

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