would life be a little easier if we had less? In certain areas,mobile phone tariffs, utilities and financial products are three that spring to mind,it is virtually impossible to make an informed choice given the overwhelming amount of tariffs and products to choose from.
Back in the early 90’s, before the dot com boom I had the idea of a top ten dot com. Type in a product or service and it would show you the up to date top ten best selling. Why oh why didn’t I pursue the idea? Mind you I didn’t have my own computer and web design software was not readily available.
If it were possible to summarise that tariffs only exist to maximise the profits of the company (whatever it is that they supply), that would make a 'simplification' argument much easier. But not all tariffs exist for that purpose - I suspect that a lot of the time a tariff is introduced by a company to cover a competitors position in the market, which is why there are so many tariffs available.
As long as that is the case, there will never be a simple price structuring.
Comparison sites are handy to give an indication of what a tariff is likely to cost, but that's all it is. An indication. You could dedicate your whole life to monitoring your real world use of all the products you have and trying to ensure that you are paying the best possible price.
I have tried Comparison sites for Insurance for my car and so far have never bettered what my Insurance Company has quoted. My insurance company is usually £20 to £50 pounds cheaper than the cheapest on the comparison sites for usually a better cover!
Equally so, my Power/Gas bills have always come out on top with my existing supplier. Admitted, I have both supplies with one supplier and pay by DD and control it on line, but I get quite good discounts, so again, have had no need for the use of comparison sites.
In answer to the original question that are we having too much choice, the answer is surely yes!
I must admit that I preferred it when the electric was from the Electricity board, with no choice at all. The tariff was easy to understand, you could pay in the shop and you knew who to call if you had a problem. Also, the bill was one sheet of A5, a far cry from the numerous pages of non information they send you nowadays.
I would also prefer less choice in supermarkets, etc. If I want shampoo, I want to just grab a bottle, not spend five perplexing minutes wondering if I need to wash my hair with avocados, or coconuts????
In my opinion the only good expansion of choice is the telephones, because if we just had BT, we would probably still be using dial up.